Photos by Craig Schwartz

                                 They all deserve to die!
                                                 Sweeney Todd

Photos by Craig Schwartz

If true to life gangster Bugsy Siegel and fictional character Edward Scissorhands shared a love child, it would be the demonic but extraordinaire barber, Sweeney Todd (Geoff Elliott is amazing to watch) With Siegel Todd would inherit the made man’s the gangster’s ice cold demeanor, and with Scissorhands, he can get a fresh cut looking and feeling good. Well, as good as a murderous, heartless soul can get. Before he was dubbed as “Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” he was Benjamin Barker. Barker was happily married to his virtuous Lucy and father to Johanna (wonderfully played by Joanna A. Jones).

He was his own boss who led a good life, until it was stolen from him. Barker served time for some trumped up charges orchestrated by the villainous Judge Turpin (Jeremy Rabb). He returns unrecognizable until he meets the charming and talkative pie lady, Mrs. Lovett (Cassandra Marie Murphy is very amusing). She tells Barker that his wife Lucy was raped by Turpin and she committed suicide instead of living with the shame. Turpin became Johanna’s (Joanna A. Jones) guardian and is determined to marry her. Turpin is in competition with the way younger Anthony Hope (James Everts) who is in love with Johanna. She reciprocates theromantic feelings but is worried that Turpin will find out.

This doesn’t sit well with the diabolical barber. He quickly designs a plan to kill the judge for his deceit and for longing after his precious Johanna. That’s when they team up to murder unsuspecting individuals then Mrs. Lovett can use the meat in her tasty pies. Repulsive? Yes! Ingenious? Absolutely! She shares Todd’s morbidity and sick sense of humor. Cassandra Marie Murphy shines brightly as Todd’s ride or die. She’s humorous and can turn deadly with a flick of a switch. Her sweetness comes out when she’s around Todd. He, however, isn’t thinking of romance. Turpin will pay for stealing his life is the mantra he’s stoically going by. Todd creates a makeshift barbershop with a chair that flips downward and sends customers down into a roaring oven. As the judge approaches Todd’s shop, he realizes this is the moment. Todd has his prey and is about to strike, until Anthony stops him. The judge is safe, for now.

Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who pulled double duty as the choreographer and adds a humorous tone to a tale of brutal violence, topped with witty remarks, does a flawless and amazing job in bringing these elements to light. Let’s be clear Sweeney Todd isn’t a lovable character. No one is cheering him on. Where the audience can connect is the need for justice. Sometimes, the law isn’t enough. The former barber of fleet street was a regular joe, working and caring for his family. Until, one day, an entitled judge decided he wants what the other guy has and takes it. He not only took it he robbed Todd of his rewarding life, leaving a shadow of a man with only vengeance on the mind.

Geoff Elliott is remarkable as the fiendish Todd with a thirst for vengeance. People need to move away because his domineering presence takes up a lot of space. His character went from living in a tiny cell to walking around in an enormous world where he no longer fits in. Todd was a decent man before his incarceration. He knows his murders will eventually catch up to him. Most likely, he will not rage against what’s coming but will accept it as his penance.


WHERE: a Noise Within, located at 3352 E Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena
WHEN: Thurs, Mar. 14th at 7:30 p.m.; Fri, Mar. 15th at 8 p.m., Sat, Mar. 16 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun, Mar 17th at 2 p.m.
RUN TIME: 2 hours and 45 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.
HOW MUCH: Tickets start at $29; student tickets start at $18.
INFO: www.anoisewithin.org