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Sweeney Todd at Mysterium Theater
Written by Brittany Woolsey   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:44

The Mysterium Theater in Santa Ana turns into Fleet Street in London, now telling the tale of "Sweeney Todd."

The two-act horror musical follows the story of Sweeney Todd (William Crisp), who turned vengeful upon returning to London after being banished by the evil Judge Turpin (Tom Royer) so he could steal his wife, Lucy, and daughter, Johanna (Rachel Charest-Bertram).

Sweeney Todd, a barber, turns to his craft of shaving to kill his victims, accompanied by Mrs. Lovett (Dyan Hobday), owner of Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Emporium. Together, the pair works together to help Todd get to the Judge and keep the meat pie shop in business.

Each of the cast members possesses talented singing voices, from Charest-Bertram's high soprano notes to Stan Morrow's -- who plays competiting barber Adolfo Pirelli -- convincing, yet humorous Italian accent. Morrow's voice also has a striking resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen, who played the character in Tim Burton's movie version of the show.

Throughout the musical, lyrics are sung at a fast pace, and it is amazing how fast the singers can belt out the lyrics while remaining on perfect time. Charest-Bertram and Adam Bradley Clinton, who plays Anthony Hope, show this skill exceptionally well during "Kiss Me," one of the few youthful and uplifting pieces in the show.

Crisp is also convincing as the conniving Todd, with the looks of evil, betrayal and vengeance in his eyes. While Sweeney Todd's malicious actions could be frowned upon, Crisp does a great job capturing his emotions, allowing viewers to root for him.

Alongside him, Hobday is comedic as Mrs. Lovett, easily making the audience laugh with subtle, yet roaringly humorous lines. Her mannerisms, such as her facial expressions and seeming ability to cry on cue, make it easy for viewers to sympathize with her emotions toward Sweeney Todd and the situations she is put in.

The set is also done remarkably well, with multiple dimensions, easily going from the pie shop to Fleet Street to the barber shop, despite the small stage space. However, viewers should beware of a fog machine that creeps fog toward the audience, engulfing them. While the fog is an effective prop, the amount it sets out is overwhelming to audience members sitting in the first few rows.

Overall, "Sweeney Todd" is a testament to how good community theatre can be, showcasing the talents of locals who truly have a passion for their craft. Through its gore, catchy tunes and evilly heroic storyline, "Sweeney Todd" is not something viewers can soon forget.

"Sweeney Todd" runs Jan. 10 through Feb. 8 on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various show times at the Mysterium Theater, located at 19211 Dodge Avenue, Santa Ana. Tickets are $25 for general admission pre-sale; $15 for students, seniors, military and teachers; and $30 for all tickets at the door.

For more information, visit mysteriumtheater.com.


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