Review: ‘Sweeney Todd’ at Green Valley Theatre Company

Sweeney Todd

We all need someone to look at us the way Sweeney Todd looks at his razors.

We all need someone to look at us the way Sweeney Todd looks at his razors.

Photo courtesy of Green Valley Theatre

Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 7pm; Through 3/8; $20; Tower Theater, 417 Vernon St., Roseville, (916) 837-7469,
Rated 4.0

Green Valley Theatre Company’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a gruesome and disturbing tale.

The story begins when Sweeney Todd (Anthony Tavianini) returns to London after being wrongfully convicted by Judge Turpin (Nathan Lacy). When Mrs. Lovett (Lauren Ettensohn), a pie shop owner, tells Todd his wife poisoned herself, he swears vengeance on the world. Todd begins to slash customers’ throats in his barber chair, which inspires the grisly secret ingredient in Mrs. Lovett’s “meat” pies. His obsession with murdering Londoners grows as he hopes to one day cut the judge’s throat and find his beautiful daughter, Johanna (Carling Witt).

Ettensohn carries the show with her haunting voice and beguiling expressions, and Owen Jones (Tobias Ragg) is a notable young performer with plenty of potential.

Francis Banks (Anthony) and Witt’s vocals are intense and enthralling during their eerie duets. The rest of the cast and ensemble move through the shadows singing “Worst Pies in London,” “City on Fire!” and “Not While I’m Around” with quick, unsettling movements.

The use of darkness in the show sets a spine-chilling mood, as does Stephen Sondheim’s intentional musical dissonance. Although the live orchestra reflects the company’s high quality, the overall sound quality could be improved. This show is not suitable for young children due to violence, sexual content and adult language.

Overall, Sweeney Todd is a lively nightmarish comedy that may give viewers a taste for blood and appetite for fresh—or flesh—meat pies.