I told myself beforehand that I was too busy to write about Santa Rosa Junior College’s “Sweeney Todd.”
But the performance grabbed me.
It’s not that I’m particularly drawn to Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s story of “the demon barber of Fleet Street.” Making meat pies out of people isn’t my thing. And the London that Todd inhabits is almost, but not quite, devoid of grace.
But if the story didn’t inspire, the performances of the actors surely did. Their voices were uniformly first rate, and Jonah Kaufman as the brooding Todd and Rosie Frater as the upbeat but money-grubbing Mrs. Lovett seem to inhabit their characters. (The production has such strength that they double cast those roles. I’m curious to learn the audience reaction tonight to Ian Elliott as Todd and Sarah Passemar as Lovett.)
No weak link emerged as the voices soared and memorable characters sprang up by Erin Ashe as Johanna, Joseph Miranda as Anthony, Nick Herman as Judge Turpin, Trevor Sakai-Jolivette as Beadle Bamford, Rodrigo Castillo as Pirelli, Dominic Williams as Toby, Megan Bartlett as the beggar woman and Francis Upton as Fogg.
Credit goes as well to the supporting ensemble, the band, set designers and to director Leira V. Satlof for a show that seldom slows, even though it’s over 2.5 hours with intermission.
(Side note: The actors who get done in while sitting in the barber’s chair must have had fun slipping through the trapdoor and sliding out onto the stage below. )
The producers recommend the show for those 18 and above due to “strong language, adult content and stylized violence.”
Evening performances resume at 8 p.m. today and Saturday April 27 & 28 and May 3, 4 and 5. Matinee performances will be 2 p.m. April 28 and 29 and May 5. To reach the box office (open 12-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, call 527-4343.) For more details, go to: http://www.santarosa.edu/theatrearts/