Sweeney Todd – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Swanson is famous for its beef, tuna and chicken pot pies but it’s highly unlikely that they will ever use Mrs. Lovett’s secret recipe. Mrs. Lovett’s pie business was once a flaky failure until she teamed up with a certain mad barber in London’s Fleet Street to create a sensational savory of unusual and peculiar flavor.

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut is mixing up a batch of tasty treats as it offers for your culinary and theatrical pleasure the Stephen Sondheim musical, with book by Hugh Wheeler, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street A Musical Thriller in Concert” until Sunday, July 1st.

The barber becomes a barbarian in this passionate tale of revenge. Sweeney Todd is the alias assumed by a barber who was transported to Australia on trumped up charges almost two decades before. He blames Judge Turpin (Ed Dixon) and his liege The Beadle (Lu DeJesus) for the treachery which led his wife to kill herself and the Judge to claim their infant daughter Johanna (Emilie Kouatchou) as his ward.

Now Todd, played with a steely determination and macabre manner by Terrence Mann, has returned to the scene of the crime to right the wrongs his family has suffered. With the aid of the lusty Mrs. Lovett, played delightfully by Liz Larsen, and a naval man Anthony (Hugh Entrekin), Todd sets his diabolical scheme in place. Complications in the form of an old beggar woman (Andrea Burns), a blackmailer Pirelli (Nicholas Gonzalez) and a wide eyed lad Tobias (Kenneth Galm) threaten his plans. Peter Flynn directs this involving dark tale plagued with the “chill of ghostly shadows.” The concert form features an orchestra of twelve on stage, led by Ken Clifton, magical lighting by Alan C. Edwards and period costumes designed by Christina Lorraine Bullard.

For tickets ($48 and up) call the CT. Rep, Jorgensen Auditorium, Storrs at 860-486-2113 or online at crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Return to nineteenth century London, if you dare, but be careful to have witnesses if you go to a local barbershop for a trim or a neighborhood pub for a succulent shepherd’s pie.