Theater review: ‘Sweeney Todd’ offers bloody good entertainment

Who doesn’t love those cute little meat pies called pasties that British pubs sell? Certainly the townspeople who chow down on them with fervor love them in Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical masterpiece, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” now doing its bloody thing at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City through Feb. 10.

That scene induced an audible “ughhhh” from many in the audience, but just about everything else in this weirdly fascinating show was greeted with laughter and appreciation.

No one deserves these accolades more than Keith Pinto, a pint-sized Sweeney who delivers a riveting, wild-eyed and wily performance. Pinto inhabits the crazed, vindictive title character as if he had been through the same horrible life events (losing his wife and child and going to prison for 15 long years) that Sweeney did. He’s absolutely compelling.

Since it slashed its way onto Broadway in 1979 (winning a slew of Tonys that year), Sweeney and his conniving, flirtatious sidekick, meat-pie goddess Mrs. Lovett (a no-holds-barred Heather Orth) are a maniacal match.

Orth’s heartfelt portrayal of Mrs. Lovett lingers long after the curtain call because she’s, by turn, flirty, dirty, chatty, sassy, and all-around terrific. When she serves up her version of “A Little Priest” — a droll musical dissertation about those special meat pies she makes and what, or who, is in them — it’s deliciously divine. A sample lyric: “If it’s stringy, it’s a fiddle player.”

It’s obvious from all the little touches in most of the actors’ characters that director Joshua Marx wanted to make this production a memorable one. And, happily, Rick Reynolds’ offstage 14-piece orchestra never drowns out any singing voices.

That may also be because the voices in this “Sweeney Todd” are strong and vibrant.

Ting Na Wang’s scenic design is straightforward enough, though there’s precious little room for Mrs. Lovett’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2019

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Harry Styles, 25; Ronda Rousey, 32; Big Boi, 44; Michael C. Hall, 48.

Happy Birthday: Check out what others are doing before you decide to get involved. Problems with institutions and government agencies should be dealt with directly and with transparency. Clear up matters that are pending and move on to the opportunities that are within reach. New beginnings are apparent, and you want to be free and clear to take advantage of what’s offered. Your numbers are 8, 14, 21, 28, 33, 37, 46.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Don’t rely on anyone but yourself if you want something done right. You’ll be blamed if you aren’t precise or you don’t finish on time. Plan to relax with people you enjoy being around to help ease stress due to pressure and deadlines. 2 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Live and learn. Observing how others react will help you detect who is offering you good information and who isn’t. Choose quality over quantity if you want to come out on top. Know what you want, and go after it relentlessly. 5 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When opportunity knocks, open the door. Listen to what’s offered and consider the source. A change will do you good, but it has to be for the right reason. Romance is on the rise and will improve your personal life. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): You’ll be drawn to situations that are different. Your interest should not mislead you. Take a look, assess the situation and take comfort in what you have and the direction you are heading. Stability should take precedence over change. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Look, see and follow through. Trust your instincts, experience and your ability to wheel and deal. Opportunities are present, along with …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Bridge: Feb. 1, 2019

Tribune Content Agency

“Here’s a riddle for you,” Cy the Cynic said. “How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

“I don’t have a clue, so to speak.”

“Two,” the Cynic said. “One to screw it in, one to give it an unexpected twist at the end.”

The play at today’s grand slam may look predictable, but it didn’t turn out that way. South won the first club with the ace and saw no problem if he won five tricks in diamonds or four in hearts. Many players would have taken the A-K of diamonds, and when East had J-6-5-2 and West had the hearts stopped, the slam would fail.


South took nothing for granted. He led a diamond to the ace, then took three hearts, two more clubs and the A-K of spades, watching the fall of the cards. South then had a complete count: West had held six clubs, four hearts, two spades … and one diamond.

So South led a diamond from dummy to his nine. He took the king and went to the queen of spades to win Trick 13 with the queen of diamonds.


You hold: S K Q 4 H A Q 2 D A Q 10 8 3 C A J. You are the dealer. What is your opening call?

ANSWER: If your partnership range for a 2NT opening bid is 21 or 22 high-card points, you can reasonably open 2NT. But many pairs use a range of 20 or 21 points; they would open two clubs and bid 2NT next. Even if you employ a 21 or 22 range, you could upgrade this hand and open two clubs. You have a good five-card suit and mostly prime values.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K Q 4

H A Q 2

D A Q 10 8 3



S …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Word Game: Feb. 1, 2019

TODAY’S WORD — STABLE (STABLE: STAY-bul: Not subject to extreme change or fluctuation.)

Average mark 34 words

Time limit 40 minutes

Can you find 39 or more words in STABLE? The list will be published tomorrow.

YESTERDAY’S WORD — PSYCHOSES peso poesy pose posh posse posy psych psyche scope sepoy shoe shop chess chop chose cope copse copy cosy hope hose echo epoch epos espy

To purchase the Word Game book, visit Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!


1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of “s,” such as “bats” or “dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a “d” or an “s” may not be used. For example, if “bake” is used, “baked” or “bakes” are not allowed, but “bake” and “baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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