Wednesday, March 6, 2019

It's Piping Hot!

Pies aren't the only thing in town that are piping hot. TheatreLab's The Basement - the "shape shifting" space of Broad Street - is on fire through March 16 with its sensational production of Sweeney Todd.

Sweeney Todd is my husband's second favorite musical. He approached Theatre Lab's production of his beloved musical with guarded enthusiasm. I'm less familiar with the classic Stephen Sondheim musical. We both left the show feeling we'd been transported to Fleet Street. The atmosphere in The Basement was electrifying. And I couldn't help but feel a shiver down my spine as we left the building. Was someone lurking in the shadows?

What's even better than a full live orchestra playing from a pit underneath the stage? A piano (John-Stuart Fauquet) and a violin (Marissa Resmini) - staged as part of the set - playing exquisite, eerie music.

And the voices. Every single one. Superb.

Alexander Sapp was so convincing as the titular character that I'm afraid to run into him in a dark alley. No way I'd let him shave my hair.

Photo by Tom Topinka

And Bianca Bryan as Mrs. Lovett was fierce and fiery, and sexy as hell. I'll take the piccolo player and the priest.

Photo by Tom Topinka

The rest of the cast was exceptional as well. Matt Polson (as Anthony Pope), Mallory Keene (as Johanna), William Anderson (as Judge Turpin), Kelsey Cordrey (as Beadle Bamford, Audra Honaker (as Beggar Woman/Pirelli) and Matt Shofner (as Tobias Ragg) lent powerful acting and voices to the leads for an ensemble performance that earned every minute of the spontaneous and enthusiastic standing ovation.

Sweeney Todd is now my favorite musical I've seen in Richmond. And my husband went twice.

Bravo to Deejay Gray and the production team (JS Fauquet, Michael Jarett, Ruth Hedberg, Joey Luck, Connor Scudder, Maggie Bavolack, Addie Barnhart, Tom Topinka, Destiny Martinez and Breezy Potter) for a fresh, sizzling take on a classic tale.

It's no surprise that the show is sold out. You might just have to kill  to get a ticket. I hear theatre patrons are quite tasty.