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Review

Sweeney Todd: School Edition
by PaccoArts
 
 

The Show:  

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Stephen Sondheim’s humorously macabre concoction about a vengeful barber and the meat pie baker next door based on a 1840s penny dreadful series called The String of Pearls by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest. Mr. Todd has just returned from fifteen years at the penal colony of Botany Bay for a crime he didn’t commit to find that the judge who sent him there had sent Sweeney away so that he could rape his wife. Sweeney hears from Mrs. Lovett, owner of a seedy meat pie shop downstairs from his old barbershop, that the rape drove his wife mad and into suicide. And the young daughter of Sweeney and his wife, Johanna, is now a lovely young woman who is the ward of Judge Turpin. And Turpin has his eyes set on marrying his young ward.  

All this makes Sweeney, newly reunited with his old barber tools, interested in giving Turpin the closest shave he’s ever had. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett has an idea to turn his practice shaves into profit. Sweeney needs to dispose of bodies. Mrs. Lovett needs meat to fill her pies. Sounds like a match made in…somewhere or another. What follows is a musical tale of vengeance and entrepreneurship, and a treat for those musical theatre lovers who crave to be served morsels of dark humor with a side of vengeance, tragedy, and a healthy dash of cannibalism.  

The Production:  

PaccoArts celebrates their one-year anniversary with this excellent production held under the stars at Kit Carson Park’s theatre, directed by Sean Tamburrino and headlined by a dream duo of Matthew Malecki as Sweeney and Emily Goedken as Mrs. Lovett. Matthew deeply inhabits the role of the brooding Sweeney teetering over the edge of sanity before plunging into murder and vengeance to the exclusion of nearly all else, his fantastic vocals capturing the pathos, blended with some good understated humor (eating the first awful meat pie from Mrs. Lovett, he nearly dies right there but does so politely). 

Emily is a riot as his charming partner, adding great little touches and physical mannerisms throughout (including getting easily out of breath from the stairs), completely infatuated with Mr. Todd, genuinely fearful when needed, and always delivering great comic timing. Although dropping the first victim’s stolen coin purse down the front of her blouse just a split second before a car alarm rang out nearby was uncanny, eliciting extra laughs from the audience and a slight grin from the remarkably well-protected Mrs. Lovett.  

College student Daniel Boyd has a very good and original take on Tobias, the mentally slow assistant who explains to an increasingly concerned Mrs. Lovett that nothing’s gonna harm her while he’s around. Mitchell McCollum shines as Judge Turpin, especially during his Pretty Women duet with Sweeney and in their final scene together. Jon White and Kailey O’Donnell offer their gorgeous vocals to the roles of the trapped but hopeful Johanna and the young romantically minded Anthony. The strong cast also features Brittney Meredith as a harassing and troubled Beggar Woman, Jason Solomon as a charismatic rival barber Pirelli, and Rhett Jaramillo as Turpin’s trusted strongman Beadle Bamford, while the ensemble delivers sterling choral performances of endangered Londoners. Director Sean Tamburrino and his team, aided by dark visuals and staging with careful attention to detail, bring to life copious amounts of comedy and tragedy from the tale of Sweeney Todd.

Performed July 22 - 30, 2011

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 

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Sweeney Todd: Matthew Malecki
Tobias Ragg: Daniel Boyd
Judge Turpin: Mitchell McCollum
Beadle Bamford: Rhett Jaramillo
Pirelli / Danny O'Higgins: Jason Solomon
Anthony Hope: Jon White
Mrs. Lovett: Emily Goedken
Johanna: Kailey O'Donnell
Beggar Woman / Lucy: Brittney Meredith
Fogg: Matthew Herman

Octet:
Kayla Abrahamian
Jalie Fransway
Matthew Herman
Avalon Penrose
Marisa Robinson
Christopher Ruetten
Caitlin Vecchione
Emmanuel Young

Ensemble:
Nick Andrews
Alexis Anderson
Sarabeth Belon
James Bowen
Jeffrey Carr
Troy Daum
Samantha Dodd
McKenna Geu
Spencer Geu
Caitlin Leamon
Rebecca Lee
Connor Marsh
Kailey Mixer
Adam Quest
Terryn Shigg
Christian Spangler

Director / Musical Director: Sean Tamburrino
Assistant Director / Musical Director: Noelle Marie Kerr
Producer: Bruce Blackwell
Lighting Design: Tony Arellano
Audio Design: Dustin Holum
Scenic Design: Ryan Seybert
Costume Design: Kenji Imaisumi, Chelsea Marsh
Properties: Jill Blackwell, Emily Blackwell
Stage Manager: Elise McClellan

   

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