Theater & Performance Sep 27, 2012 at 4:00 am

Portland Center Stage's Defanged Sweeney Todd


To review this production without mentioning the talents of the cast and orchestra is unforgivable. The music was gorgeous; the acting was powerful. Gretchen Rumbaugh, who played Mrs. Lovett, was especially electrifying and Matthew Alan Smith's Judge Turpin took creepy to new heights.

Coming into the show not knowing anything about the Director's vision, I did not find any forced references to the state of America today. I took it for granted that the show was taking place in old London since the cast did such a great job with their accents and the set only enhanced that picture.

I agree that on the surface, Aloysius Gigl wasn't as menacing a Sweeney as say, Johnny Depp, but that just gives his insanity a different flavor. When he snaps, he does it in a giddy, dangerous, I-have-nothing-left-to-lose way which is why the song "A Little Priest," is so much pun fun!

Sweeney Todd does not feature gross rich people taking advantage of poor people. Almost everyone is gross in Sweeney Todd.

I hope the reviewer harping on a political theme that may or may not have been present does not discourage anyone from seeing the show. It is well-executed Sondheim and that is always worth the ticket price.

-Alison Barrett

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