Sweeney Todd

A NoHo Arts theatre review of A Noise Within's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, running through March 17.
Cassandra Marie Murphy, Geoff Elliott. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of A Noise Within‘s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, running through March 17.

I’ve been looking forward to this particular show since I saw it on A Noise Within’s calendar for this year. I’m a big fan, both of the company and the show, and I couldn’t think of any other theatre company that I would prefer to tackle this stunningly original musical from the genius of Stephen Sondheim and High Wheeler.

Sweeney Todd is the story of a broken man and his plan to revenge his wife’s death, his daughter’s kidnapping and his own banishment for life from his home by the infamous Judge Turpin. It takes him 16 years to find his way back and when he does he takes the new name of Sweeny Todd and sets about his revenge. He becomes a barber once more, taking back his old rooms above a pie shop, and with the help of its owner, Mrs Lovett, he bides his time until the judge, who coveted his wife and raised and groomed his daughter to become his next conquest, comes to him, so he can slit his despicable throat. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of A Noise Within's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, running through March 17.
Joanna J. Jones and James Everts. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Of course, this takes a while…and in preparation he happily practices his murderous method amongst the unworthy and the high born, the riff raff and the sickeningly powerful of London. The bodies pile up and the pies become plentiful…once they establish the perfect way to dispose of spare flesh.

It’s a gorgeous, terrifying and heartbreaking story. The songs are spectacular and the arrangements heavenly…although the subject matter hardly is. But it’s an iconic powerful musical. The songs are Sondheim at his best and achingly tricky. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of A Noise Within's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, running through March 17.
Josey Montana McCoy, Cassandra Marie Murphy and The Ensemble. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

A Noise Within’s company of extraordinary actors and set designers, sound and lighting artists helmed by their utterly brilliant director Julia Rodriguez-Elliot, has created an absolutely magical production. They lift this beautiful material to dizzying heights.

They transport us to the fetid streets and the darkness of despair. And the love so artfully wound throughout the play between the daughter Joanna and her sailor Anthony Hope is exquisitely juxtaposed against the stench of obsession torture and fear. 

It’s a triumph. A riveting, melodic spellbinding journey through deception, lies and some just rewards of karmic proportions. In the gorgeously perfect theatre of the Noise Within, the play seeps alarmingly off the stage.

The characters slinking around the auditorium, screaming and singing and infusing the atmosphere with all the dankness of the London of the time and every drop of blood the demon barber spills. It’s electric. Every actor performs with the artfulness the story demands. Their voices ringing and beguiling as they shine on stage. I really can not rave enough about this stellar production of Sweeny Todd. I knew it would be good…but really…it was sublime. 

A NoHo Arts theatre review of A Noise Within's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, running through March 17.
Cassandra Marie Murphy, Geoff Elliott. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

I cannot single out an individual actor for praise, they are all incredible. However, Cassandra Marie Murphy as Mrs. Lovett and Geoff Elliott as Sweeny were quite remarkable. They set the bar extremely high for all around them and yet it was met by all time and time again. 

The costumes! The set! The music! The drama of it! You simply have to see this show. Sweeney Todd is not performed nearly enough and who knows when you will get the chance to see such an extraordinary company perform it again. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Tickets: 

When:

Through March 17
Thursday at 7:30PM
Friday and Saturday at 8PM
Matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2PM

Where:

A Noise Within
3352 E Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA