Sweeney Todd Reviews
Washington Post- Somewhat Recommended
"...Sondheim and librettist Hugh Wheeler conceived 1979′s “Sweeney Todd” as a conveyor of radical disturbance — an English penny dreadful set to a score equal parts haunting and hilarious. But if you tamp down the horror, as director Sarna Lapine seems intent on doing, you dilute the visceral shock value of one of the greatest musicals ever written. The genre is grand guignol, a theatrical embrace of depravity. On this occasion, unfortunately, it’s only petite guignol."
DC Theater Arts- Somewhat Recommended
"...Director Sarna Lapine, an experienced interpreter of Sondheim musicals who has Sondheim in her DNA (her uncle, James Lapine, wrote the book for and directed Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion) wisely avoids creating a cartoon monster in this Sweeney Todd, but the elegant actor who plays him at Signature, Nathaniel Stampley, seems too composed, too much in control throughout this performance, even after his initial plan for murderous revenge against the judge (John Leslie Wolfe) and his solicitous beadle (Christopher Michael Richardson) goes awry and his rage spirals into full-on omnicide (“They all deserve to die — even you Mrs. Lovett, even I”)."
"...Sarna Lapine's lush, lusty staging of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Signature greets its audience with the stark image of a single lamppost, clouded in mist. Evoking the dark alleyways of Victorian London with little more than Jesse Belsky's vividly atmospheric lighting on Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams' sparse, shifting set, the production establishes itself with the chilling confidence of a killer."
Washington City Paper- Somewhat Recommended
"...Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but maybe not this chilly. A few more dashes of blood and a spoonful of stylish excess could make this Sweeney Todd more palatable."
MD Theatre Guide- Highly Recommended
"...“Sweeney Todd” remains a perennial favorite for its deliciously macabre humor and soaring score. Signature’s orchestra is impressive for a theatre of its size, with sixteen musicians for a stage that seats less than three-hundred, but is still considerably smaller than the 26-piece orchestrations of the original Broadway production. In scenes with only the nine-person ensemble, the scoring occasionally sounds thin. But the production nails the musical’s comedic beats and the intimacy of the scenic design intensifies the emotional core of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” A deserving finale to Signature’s Season of Sondheim, outstanding lead performances and fantastic technical design make “Sweeney Todd” a delight for old, new, and soon-to-be fans."