When I saw The Phantom of the Opera for the first time (in London – yes, I’m bragging), I had goosebumps. When the overture began I felt this sense of amazement and wonder. The loud notes, the familiar music, the sense that I was watching something bigger than a normal play… It was epic.
That was the only time I’d felt this – until last night. This weekend I attended Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Neptune Theatre. When Shane Carty first walks on stage and sings “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd” in his deep baritone voice, well, it was epic for me. Goosebumps were had.
I don’t know when I began loving this musical, but it was a long time ago. I’d watch YouTube clips of Angela Lansbury singing “Worst Pies in London” and “A Little Priest” (and memorize the lyrics). I’d managed to watch the entire video of the touring company with Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and George Hearn as Sweeney Todd years before purchasing it on DVD. I loved the craziness of the story and absurdity of singing about what people would taste like based on their jobs. Add revenge, madness and two young lovers and you get a damn entertaining story.
It’s a vocal tour-de-force (with practically the entire show being sung). Mrs. Lovett is the perfect amount of crazy (very important in this play), Johanna’s voice is beautiful, the chorus is blended fantastically, the barber chair is amazing, etc, etc. I want to bottle this show and watch it again and again.
There’s only 1 week left, so if you’re in the area and have a grisly sense of humour, go see it. Attend, indeed.