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Howard Ignal from Guilford, Ct.
SWEENEY TODD. - TOO GOOD AT LEAST
A few nights ago my wife and I had the absolute pleasure of seeing the "intimate" production of "Sweeney Todd" at the Barrow Street Theater. Having seen a few large-scale productions of this marvelous Sondheim classic, I was amazed as to how well it translated into a 130 seat mock pie shop; incredibly replicating the actual Harrington's Pie Shop in Tooting, England, where this production was conceived and born - later gestating on Shaftesbury Avenue in London thanks to Cameron Mackintosh. Sitting communally at long tables you are effortlessly transported to 19th century London where odd and bizarre happenings are going on in the realm of barbering and meat pie purveyance. And speaking of the latter, before the show a patron can purchase a meat or vegetable pie - neither "course or mealy," but delicious and savory - served up by former White House executive pastry chief, Bill Yosses. Once the show begins, the excellent cast of eight - superbly backed up by a three member orchestra - deliver an exhilarating and sometimes chilling tale of revenge and financial opportunity. Jeremy Secomb makes the most frightening Sweeney ever, especially when he is carrying out his evil deeds right in your face. His voice is strong and his facial expressions will haunt you long after you've left the theater. Siobhan McCarthy, as the widowed pie shop owner Mrs.Lovett, is both looney and adorable and handles the complicated Sondheim lyrics with ease. (Her misplaced adoration of Sweeney makes one wonder if the late and unmentioned Mr. Lovett passed away either from smothering or perhaps cat-scratch fever.) As Judge Turpin, Duncan Smith is somehow avuncular in his creepy interest in his ward, Johanna, and his "Pretty Women" duet with Secomb is a highlight. Veteran scene stealer Brad Oscar, is an effectively toady Beadle and makes the most of his two solo numbers. As the hopelessly romantic, but uncomplicated young lovers (Johanna and Anthony), Alex Finke and Matt Doyle both sing and look wonderful. Betsy Morgan does double duty as both the Beggar Woman and Todd's tonsorial competitor, sounding beautifully appropriate in both roles. And last, but certainly not least, Joseph Taylor, portrays a Toby that is in equal measure cunning and naive- part Artful Dodger, part Oliver - and he delivers a heart breaking "Not While I'm Around." All in all, see this show if you want to be both entertained and thrilled by a production that puts you in the center of the action, where not a lyric nor facial expression can be missed, ignored or forgotten.
SuperNova from New York, New York
RUN TO THIS BARBER SHOP PRONTO!
Brilliant immersive and thrilling experience from start to finish. Chew on this timeless score and savor every bite! We loved the table seats right in the center of the action. And grab the best wings in NYC after at the Barrow Street Ale House (after the must eat pre dinner pies!)
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