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