BWW Reviews: Ignite Theatre's SWEENEY TODD - Bloody Fun!
The demon barber of Fleet Street is terrorizing the residents of Aurora, CO through November 11th at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. Ignite Theater presents Stephen Sondheim's dark tale of revenge, corruption, and murder. This show was simply awesome and deliciously dark and just a perfect blend of stellar voices, wonderful acting, plenty of blood and a thoroughly enjoyable production. From the opening number you knew you were in for a good time with an amazing wall of sound. There were so many fun moments as well such as the Shaving Sequence and God, That's Good. The insane asylum was also crazy fun and great suspense. Seriously, this is one of the best productions that Ignite Theatre has ever done and I look forward to see what is to come.
Sweeney Todd Travis Risner was a true menacing, vengeful star in the lead role of Sweeney Todd. He really brought out the tortured angst of the character and was just fascinating to watch. Plus his voice was so rich and drew you in especially during No Place Like London. Boni McIntyre was wonderfully charismatic as Mrs. Nellie Lovett and just a joy to watch. The Worst Pies in London and Epiphany were fun and funny. Matthew Gary was exceptional as the orphan Tobais Ragg. He really shone during the Elixir scene and had sensational diction during the song. Not While I'm Around was sweet and tender and his transformation as the end of the show was also disturbing and captivating. When I heard Tim Howard utter his first note as Anthony, my head snapped to attention because this was a true natural talent and his gorgeous voice was so rich and pure. It was the best rendition of Johanna that I have ever heard. Sara Clossen Metz was also delightful as Johanna and has a stunning voice. Her rendition of Green Finch was superb. Shane Delavan as Judge Turpin was disturbing to watch and I do mean that in a good way. Owen Niland as Beadle Bamford was quirky and odd. Owen showed great diligence in his quirky mannerisms that truly enhanced his character. Shahara Ostrand showed such contrast as the Beggar Woman. She was funny and dirty and yet had this amazing voice that made you take notice. Adam Perkes stole the show with his over the top, hilarious interpretation of Pirelli. I must also compliment the entire ensemble on having great voices and making their smaller roles unique and just having fun with the show.
Now I have seen over a dozen productions directed by Bernie Cardell. Several were wonderfully stellar productions, a couple not as complete and thought through, but I must say that this is the best production by this talented director to date. Mr. Cardell not only thought of this entire production as a whole, but also left no stone unturned. This show was so enjoyable because it was so thought out and made for an excellent production that flowed effortlessly. I also have to give Bernie high praises for making use of several actors from PHAMALY, which only further enhanced the color of Fleet Street. Musical Direction by Midge McMoyer Smith was also very good and found amazing voices for this show. I loved that eerie xylophone that resonated throughout the entire show. The choreography by Danny Harrigan was simple yet blended wonderfully in with the show. I especially loved the movement in the insane asylum. Laura High was spot on with costumes for this dark show. From the dinginess of Fleet Street, to the rising of prosperous business of Mrs. Lovett, the outlandish costume for Pirelli and the everything in between Ms. High showed great range. I loved the sounds effects by designer Jeff Jesmer and appreciated the thunderstorm sound effects before the show that gave the foreshadowing of the darkness that was to come. The lighting by designer Jared Richardson also complimented the set quite well. Set Design and Construction Jeff Jesmer and Alek Jesmer was fabulous and I loved the wooden run down effect of set. The pop up doors literally came out of the walls and the floor and this set was all about the little touches. Props by Beki Pineda deserve to be mentioned for their excessive and wonderful use of blood and the little details helped to enhance this wonderful set. I also have to give applause for the genius idea of having Bloody Mary's available at intermission which was inventive and refreshing.
This production was absolutely wonderful and perfect for this spooky time of year. Ignite Theatre's SWEENEY TODD is menacing audiences now until November 11th. Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 720-362-2697 or online at www.ignitetheatre.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Poshtography by Simone