Paramount Theatre’s production of SWEENEY TODD thrusts itself upon the audience and never lets go. The subject matter might be off-putting for some, but it’s worth ignoring that feeling to experience this dazzling musical.
A MUSICAL THRILLER
The show revolves around Sweeney Todd. He is a barber who has returned to London to seek vengeance upon the man who violently separated him from his wife and daughter 15 years prior. He befriends a pie shop owner named Mrs. Lovett. She assists him in his quest for revenge and profits from his evil deeds.
Stephen Sondheim has written a score that remains thrilling. Often the music brilliantly betrays the lyrics in order to reveal the true meaning behind what the grisly characters are actually saying. Although his entire catalog of work is something to be studied, this may be his masterpiece. Paramount’s orchestra does not disappoint.
PARAMOUNT THEATRE CREATES A CHILLING ATMOSPHERE
The dark tone of this stunning production is immediately apparent. The first notes from the beautifully full orchestra plunges the audience into a dark place. The staggering lighting design, by Nick Belley and Jesse Klug, creates a haunted atmosphere. It is a rare and wonderful experience when lighting becomes another character in a show. The immense and striking set, designed by Jeffrey D. Kmiec, might overpower a lesser show but fits perfectly within this fantastical universe. It forces the audience to look the horror directly in its face.
A CAST FULL OF BRILLIANCE
There simply are not enough complimentary adjectives to describe Bri Sudia’s performance as the twisted, yet vulnerable Mrs. Lovett. She absolutely nails the duality of dangerous apathy and need for companionship. It is a pleasure and privilege to witness her portrayal of this iconic character.
Paul-Jordan Jansen is powerful in the title role. Patrick Rooney’s performance of the love ballad “Johanna” is dreamy and beautiful. The zombie-like ensemble highlights the creepiness of the material.
If you are lucky enough for this to be your first encounter with this ghoulish tale, you will not be disappointed. If you have seen it before, this production might vie for your top slot.
Top Pick For: Thrill Seekers
Not recommended for: The faint of heart
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago.
Runs February 8, 2017 through March 19, 2017
Wednesdays at 1:30PM and 7:00PM
Thursdays at 7:00PM
Fridays at 8:00PM
Saturdays at 3:00PM and 9:00PM
Sundays at 1:00PM and 5:30PM
23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL
Online at www.paramountaurora.com
By phone at 630-896-6666
In Person at the Paramount Theatre Monday through Saturday from 10:00am - 6:00PM and 2 hours before each performance.