“ATTEND THE TALE OF SWEENEY TODD…”
A Theatre Review by Tynan Sinks
There’s a buzz in town about the spring musical Sweeney Todd that premiered Thursday in The Wells Theater at Monmouth College. And rightfully so. Residents and students can only experience a full musical once every two years, and this one is well worth the wait.
From the moment you step into the theater, you are transported to dark and dreary 19th century London. The chorus members’ ominous and foreboding energy grabs you from the opening number and carries you throughout the show. Though the show has little choreography, every move that the actors make is calculated and so well rehearsed that they give the show momentum from the very beginning. The standout performance of the evening was given by Emily Frazer, the female lead Mrs. Lovett. With her strong understanding of the character she was playing and her impeccable comedic timing, she commanded your attention throughout the entire performance. Dane Feenstra impresses the audience yet again. With his effortless vocal talent, he embodies his character Anthony, and was a delight to watch. Mike Carioto showed the greatest dimension, leaving the audience stirred with his interpretation of the character Tobias.
The lead male character, Todd, was played by Nick Munson. Nick’s vocal range continues to impress, though his performance of the brooding and angry character of Todd was less than believable. Danielle Kita played Johanna, but showed little understanding of the conflict that her character was experiencing, though she too was a vocal high point of the production. The set design of this production is one of the best that Monmouth has ever seen. The backdrop of warehouse windows, Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop, Pirelli’s wagon, all came to life before the eyes of the audience. Another visually stunning moment was the “City on Fire” sequence when the chorus helps move the show along to its immanent climax.
As a whole, Sweeney Todd is one of the strongest productions that Monmouth has seen in recent years.