Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 18, 2013

“Sweeney Todd” The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Greene Room Productions, Stafford Springs, CT
through November 23, 2013
by K.J. Rogowski

Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, along with his culinary criminal companion, Mrs. Lovett, take to the stage once again in Greene Room Productions’ rousing presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s murderous musical.

The expansive stage at the Stafford Palace Theater allows for director Erin Greene’s set to have multiple stairways leading to numerous levels, and lots of scary places for the denizens of Fleet Street to climb on, around, and under as they recount the tale of Sweeney Todd. David Wallace and Rose Keating, as Sweeney and Lovett, make a nicely matched pair of homicidal maniacs -- singing, slashing, and baking their way to riches and revenge, as their unsuspecting customers gorge themselves on Lovett’s insanely tasty treats. Austin Welker and Mallory Wray, as Anthony and Johanna, the young star-crossed lovers, struggle, and plot their escape from the maniacal Judge Turpin, played by Josh Farber, and his smarmy sidekick, The Beadle, played by Martin Levson. Welker and Wray are well cast, with good voices, but occasional issues with their wireless microphones leaves the audience wanting to hear more of their now famous duets. Also of note are Nicole Ouimet, as the tawdry Beggar Woman who haunts Sweeney, and Josiah Durham, who delivers a particularly enjoyable portrayal of the simple and loyal Tobias Ragg.

Backing up this group of desperate and unsavory characters is an energetic ensemble cast, who help bring the company numbers to life, and the action moving. For those who like Sondheim, a clean shave, lots of great music, and more than a little mayhem, they all await, if future audience members dare to take a stroll down the dark twists and turns of Fleet Street.