He ain't no Johnny Depp to look at, but he sure can sing. He's also a really good actor. I'm talking about Merritt David Janes, the guy with the straight razor in the picture. Merritt starred as Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, last week when the Broadway show came to the State Theatre in Easton.
This old theater, with its fancy ceiling and cushy chairs, is a favorite of mine and I was greatly appreciative to Jamie for the fantastic seat - orchestra, all the way to the left.
If you'll remember, I wanted to see this play because I loved Tim Burton's theatrical version. Although the story was the same, the play was better (sorry, Tim) because instead of an orchestra, the 10 cast members performed the score in between singing, acting and changing the set themselves. The simplicity of it really appealed to me.
The performance began with a mental patient wrapped in a straight jacket, who was then untied and given a violin, which he cuddled like a teddy bear. 'Oh boy,' I thought, 'this is gonna be good.' (The mental patient turned out to be Tobias, the young lad who kills Sweeney Todd in the end.)
Much to my delight, the performance was very dark and very dramatic. But when the main characters are slitting throats and turning people into meat pies, you need something to lighten the load. That's where Carrie Cimma, as Mrs. Lovett, comes in - her comedic relief (and probably her tuba playing) earned her the loudest cheers during curtain call.
Much to my dismay, I couldn't understand a single word sung by the young woman who played Johanna, even though she recently won some national voice competition. Also, the guy who played Judge Turpin, a former ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily, needs to remember that Sweeney Todd ain't the circus.
Anyone else see Sweeney Todd?