UVSC’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ an offbeat, eerie musical

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    By MARY FLEMING

    Utah Valley State College boldly took on the task to perform the dark musical “Sweeney Todd” this week in Orem.

    “Sweeney Todd” puts to eerie music the story of a barber who returns to his home town 15 years after being exiled on false charges.

    Sweeney Todd (Andrew McKee) comes home hoping to find his living wife and daughter waiting for him. What he finds instead is his abandoned room and former landlord, Mrs. Lovett (Courtney Young).

    Lovett informs him that his wife took poison after being taken prisoner by the corrupted judge (Mark Wilson). Todd’s daughter is still kept captive as the judge’s ward. Todd vows to murder the judge to get revenge. He sets up a respectable barber shop above Lovett’s meat pie shop.

    When his original plan to kill the judge is thwarted, Sweeney goes on a killing rampage. He slits the throats of various customers. Lovett serves them in her delicious meat pies.

    A humorous interlude takes place in a duet between Todd and Lovett. They sing of the type of meat pies they will make: priest, actor and politician, among others.

    There is a romantic side to the story. Todd’s daughter Johanna (Amber Edson) falls in love with sailor Anthony (Joseph Stone). They plan to escape and get married before the judge can make Johanna his own wife, but the judge puts her in an insane asylum to keep them apart.

    This is a difficult musical to perform. The music is quite enjoyable, but the storyline is very off beat. The cast does a good job with it. The performances are believable on the whole and their singing voices strong.

    To see the show, you cannot go expecting to see another Rodgers and Hammerstein production. The play doesn’t portray life and death realistically. If you can accept that, you will most likely enjoy the performance.

    Young’s performance especially adds the necessary comic relief in the play. Her spunky songs of her meat pies and love for Sweeney brought laughter to the audience.

    I wouldn’t recommend the show for small children because of the content.

    “Sweeney Todd” shows nightly at 7:30 through Saturday. Tickets are $4 for students with identification, $6 general admission and $3 for UVSC students.

    For reservations, call 222-8982.

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