ReviewStage

Lyric Stage’s “Sweeney Todd” is Delectably Good . . . Just Don’t Eat the Pies

Tori Loubert ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The cast of Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.
The cast of Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.

Everyone knows the tale of The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, mainly because of Tim Burton’s recent film rendition of the play that once again place Johnny Depp as the titular weirdo and Helena Bonham Carter as his love interest. However, Bostonians have the opportunity to see the play in action this fall at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

As a huge fan of Sondheim and the Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage Company, Spiro Veloudos (Emerson College Alumna,’74) begins the Lyric’s forty-first season with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. After closing last season with Into The Woods, which extended through the end of June, audience hype was at its highest for another Sondheim classic. The Lyric’s small theater has been reconstructed into a two-tier stage to accommodate the musical. Rife with Lyric veterans and Emersonians alike, the musical is a spectacle to be seen.

The musical follows Sweeney Todd, hauntingly performed by Christopher Chew, after he returns to London from prison in Australia to find his entire world torn apart. He learns that his wife is dead and his daughter has become the ward of the judge who exiled him fifteen years prior. With murder on his mind and an unlikely partnership with a widowed pie-maker, Mrs. Lovett, brought to life by Emerson faculty member Amelia Broome, he begins a plan for revenge.

Christopher Chew and Amelia Broome in Sweeny Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.
Christopher Chew and Amelia Broome in Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.

Both Veloudos and Chew have spoken about exploring the play from Sweeney Todd’s perspective. Audience members can truly feel the pain and betrayal that propelled the barber to insanity. On opening night, the full house was enthralled in Sweeney’s struggle for vengeance.

That’s not to say that the performance was devoid of any comedy. Several songs play off the black humor aspect of the musical. Between Lovett and Todd’s commentary in “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” and the morbidly hilarious “A Little Priest” allows the audience to laugh in the midst of murder. Broome’s performance of “Worst Pies in London” received a few cackles as well.

Additionally, the romance between Anthony, a young sailor, and Johanna (portrayed by Sam Simahk and Meghan LaFlam, respectively) lightens the darkness of the play. Their intended escape from the terrors of their London lives adds suspense to the already thrilling plot of Sweeney trying to capture his prey.

Amelia Broome and Christopher Chew in Sweeny Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.
Amelia Broome and Christopher Chew in Sweeney Todd. Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard/Lyric Stage Company.

The supporting cast includes Lisa Yuen as the insane Beggar Woman, Paul C. Soper as the odious Judge Turpin, Remo Airaldi as the Beadle, Phil Tayler as Tobias, and Davron S. Monroe as Adolfo Pirelli.

Student rush tickets are available for $10 in cash half an hour prior to show time with student ID. Tickets in advance range from $25 to $60 with a student discount of $10 off. Sweeney Todd will be running until October 11.

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