The space also lends itself to some nonconsensual audience participation during the “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” scene, and some small meat pies containing fake fingers are distributed in another.
Ratty Scurvics plays Sweeney Todd, a barber who returns to London seeking vengeance on the judge who unfairly jailed him. He plays the role with a gentleness that belies the nefarious deeds of his character later in the show. Todd finds a partner in crime in neighbor Mrs. Lovett (cellist Helen Gillet), a daffy baker of terrible meat pies. While not always able to hit her character’s high notes, the gangling Gillet pulls off the comedic aspects of her role, especially when her and Scurvics team up for “A Little Priest.” She plays the cello beautifully in one scene.
The cast’s vocal abilities varied wildly, which is problematic when dealing with a musically challenging show whose plot is mostly in the songs. Sondheim purists might be unnerved at times. But a few singers stood out, particularly Pandora Gastelum as Todd’s daughter Johanna, who becomes the property of Judge Turpin (portrayed as an Asian satin-wearing weirdo by Steve Walkup). Gastelum has a special soprano voice that is a treat to hear. Other vocal standouts include David Symons as lovestruck Anthony and Barron Burmaster as the assistant to barber Adolfo Pirelli (played in cross-dress by musician Aurora Nealand).
Soon the murdering starts, and things get campy with red lighting and a noisy fog machine, lending a B-movie feel to the show. It’s part of the charm of the production and its downtown kind of cast, who are clothed in mismatched costumes. Like the theater’s production of The Threepenny Opera, which was directed by Monn and featured much of the same cast, it was exciting to see a classic musical staged in an unlikely setting by uniquely New Orleans characters.
8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 16 at the AllWays Lounge
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