The show “Sweeney Todd,” invoking dark humor and lots of death, is brought to the Broadway Theatre of Pitman, where the world conceived by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler is brought to life. Running weekends from now through Oct. 9, the dark, almost gothic show is not ideal for children. Todd’s killings are a sure sign the show is for mature audiences – but it does not disappoint.
Eric Cecilio, who plays Todd, humanizes the murderous barber by fully embracing Todd’s woes. When Todd learns his wife supposedly has died, Cecilio offers so much passion and sorrow that he almost convinces the audience Todd’s desired revenge against the judge who exiled him is more just.
Providing much of the show’s comic relief, Kristin Titus delights as Mrs. Lovett, the meat-pie maker who also falls hopelessly in love with Todd. During dark moments when the audience may still be stunned by Todd’s latest killing, Titus’ character would say, “Well then that’s okay then,” or merely suggest they use dead bodies for meat.
Aside from Cecilio and Lovett’s characterization, the two’s voices were each individually lovely, but together, stronger. Especially in the intense, emotional ‘Searching’ duet near the end of the show, one can feel Mrs. Lovett’s agony and love for Todd as she sings.
This is not to underscore the rest of the cast. Alan Stentiford plays Anthony Hope’s endless quest for love genuinely. George Colli plays Tobias Ragg’s simple nature with a singing voice that matches the role perfectly. One can’t help but laugh – and take seriously – Jodi Lawrence O’Connor’s role as the Beggar Woman. In ensemble numbers, the blend of strong sopranos and well-rounded basses made for excellent group songs that did not rely heavily on choreography.
It goes without saying the production would likely not have been possible without its production staff, but Bill Yerkes’ set design offered the right kind of vibe for the show. Jack Hill, who conducted the orchestra, did an excellent job of bringing the pit and the cast together as one, making a show which made an audience fear, gasp, laugh or even fall in love.
For ticket information or more specific details about the show, visit the theater’s website. http://www.thebroadwaytheatre.org/
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