Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sweeney Todd.

I know, it's been quite a while. And I have no excuse. But this was exciting so I'm going to tell you all about it!

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to see Sweeney Todd at Portland Center Stage and it was quite possibly the creepiest musical I've ever seen. But it was good. Boy was it good. It was incredible!

The first bit of incredibleness, the first thing I saw when I entered the theater, was the set. It was quite the set. Very detailed and well thought out. It did its job.

The next bit of incredibleness was the wonderful actors. Those actors had quite the voices. And their accents were right on. I was immediately swept away into 19th century London and it was amazing. The casting was pretty much perfect. The actors seemed to fit their parts very well. My only complaint was that the young man playing Anthony seemed kind of wimpy. I couldn't quite figure out his accent either. But he did a fine job still. And the lass playing Joanna was incredible! You see, the way it is with Joanna, you either get the one who plays ditzy and annoying and drives everyone crazy or you get one who is actually halfway intelligent and you can actually feel pity towards. The Joanna in this show was, fortunately, the second type. And then some. I was really happy with her.

The final bit of incredibleness worth sharing was the music. One thing I love about PCS is the orchestra pit. more often than not, the conductor's head can be seen sticking out of the pit, and by the end of the show, the top of their head has had more time in front of the audience than anyone else in the show. Those lucky conductors. Also they get to hang out with the awesome musicians. Double lucky. The orchestra itself was teeny tiny, I think they said 9 people, but they put out a sound much larger than what you would expect from 9 musicians. It was a great sound.

Really my only complaint was that it was just too loud. Granted, I was in the second row (cool right?), but it just about busted my poor eardrums! It was probably just fine for the elderly couple in the back row though.

Anyway, it was a great production. Closed today I believe. It wasn't even as gory and bloody and messed up as they had made it sound. Well, okay, it was pretty messed up. But the fake blood was bearable and not overdone (interesting fact: the fake blood was made from dish soap mixed with food colouring because apparently because of the soap the dye washes out of the costumes easily).

On a side note of sorts, my mom told me a couple things worth sharing:

  1. She had a friend in college who arranged to meet and interview Sondheim. How cool is that!?
  2. One of the main melodies in the show, "Swing your razor high, Sweeney" is based on "Dies Irae" or "Day of Wrath" from the 13th century Catholic Requiem for the Dead. Creepy, right? 
So it was a great experience. I think we've established that. 

If you're interested, here's a link to some backstage behind the scenes stuff: 

You should check it out because it's really neat.