Sweeney Todd: The Reviews Are In

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

SweeneytoddNewsweek: An innovative Broadway revival has its share of delights (starting with Patti LuPone) but misses the tragedy at this dark musical’s heart

New York Times: "Brace yourself. They’re putting on one helluva show."

The interesting thing this revival of "Sweeney Todd" is that it is pared down and somewhat minimalist.  The New York Times explains this:

[Director John] Doyle, conditioned by the economic limitations of long years in regional theater, delivers what is, on one level, a skeletal "Sweeney." This production features one set, 10 actors (excellent) and 10 musicians (also excellent). The actors and musicians, by the way, are the same people.

Yet this concentration of resources only tightens both narrative pull and emotional focus. The original Broadway "Sweeney," directed by Harold Prince, was a big-picture masterpiece that placed the show’s luridness in a distancing Dickensian social framework. Mr. Doyle’s version, by contrast, draws you claustrophobically close. As they say at the entrance to spook houses, enter if you dare.

RELATED:  "Sweeney" star Patti Lupone says "Broadway ain’t for sissies!"

NOT ENTIRELY RELATED, BUT CLOSE ENOUGH:  I’m hearing a "buzz" about "Naked On A Bearskin Rug". 

Okay, I’m not hearing a "buzz", so much as trying to create one.  Stay tuned.