Entertainment :: Theatre

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

by Sophia  Horn
Contributor
Thursday Nov 1, 2012
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Phil Meyer as Sweeney and Amanda Carlin as Mrs. Lovett.
Phil Meyer as Sweeney and Amanda Carlin as Mrs. Lovett.  (Source:Josh Shaw)

Pasadena’s Pacific Opera Project (POP) performed an impressively gory and creepy adaption of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" just in time for the Halloween season in Southern California.

Director Josh Shaw creates a professionally done musical that devours the audience’s attention and reels their emotions into the gruesome story. Shaw decided to take on Christopher Bond’s adaption of the "Sweeney Todd" tale due to it giving more depth to Todd’s character.

The production was sold out on Saturday night, Oct. 27, in the 150-seat Porticoes Theatre in Pasadena. Although at first glance, the theater seems on the small side, the size only made the performance more intimate and startling.

Due to the confined space, the theater would rattle when the full 31-member cast would sing together. The cast took it a step further by completely taking advantage of being able to get close to the guests. During scenes in the musical, the chorus would stand by every row and belt the chilling vocals towards the crowd.

Phil Meyer played the role of the infamous Sweeney Todd and truly showcased his talents in his performance. Meyer’s chilling vocals suited the role of the Demon Barber.

Phil Meyer played the role of the infamous Sweeney Todd and truly showcased his talents in his performance. Meyer’s chilling vocals suited the role of the Demon Barber.

The character of Sweeney Todd is a revenge seeking barber who is looking to slaughter the judge who raped his wife and is now looking to force Todd’s daughter into marriage.

Amanda Carlin adds charming chemistry to the musical by playing the twisted Mrs. Lovett who adds comic relief and a disturbing agenda to the performance.

Although Mrs. Lovett is a lovable character, she promoted the idea to partner up with Sweeney, and for him to butcher his barbershop clients and slide them down to her in order to make her meat pies for the business she owns.

One top of the already unsettling plot, the nine-piece orchestra beautifully echoed throughout the theater and perfectly complimented Shaw’s production. The orchestra and music was conducted by the talented Stephen Karr.

Unbeknownst to the cast on Oct. 27, Karr had to conduct the orchestra and play the piano for the musical due to a member’s absence.

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" will be moved to the also intimate Miles Memorial Playhouse. Remember to purchase your tickets quickly -- people are dying for a seat.

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" runs through Nov. 4 at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. For info or tickets, call 323-739-6122 or visit www.pacificoperaproject.com

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