Orange County Theatre Reviews

The Barber is In: Sweeney Todd is Back in Town @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo by Jordan Kubat)

Written by Scotty Keister 

Chinese proverb: He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.

The legend of Sweeney Todd is a long and storied one. Todd began life in the mid-19th century in a penny dreadful tale. In this original version Todd was a secondary character. He soon came to life in a stage version penned by George Dibdin Pitt. His legend continued throughout the 20th century in dozens of stage, film and television versions. Ultimately, when British playwright Christopher Bond created Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1973, new life was breathed into Sweeney’s aging, bloodthirsty barber. The tale was fleshed out, making the story into more of a revenge tragedy, and not simply a bloody horror tale. This is the version that first brought Sweeney to Stephen Sondheim’s attention and led to him creating  what might be considered the ultimate edition in 1979. Continue Reading

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Into the Woods @ The Curtis Theatre in Brea – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Because fairy tales take place in delightful lands of magic and whimsy, I can only imagine that people doing productions featuring such fiction think to themselves, “This isn’t actually historical.  It’s flexible.  Now is my ITW logo-webchance to do something innovative and new”.  Hence the strange new introduction the Curtis Theatre added to their production of Into the Woods.  Sometimes attempts such as these are refreshingly innovative, sometimes they fall flat.   In the case of the Curtis Theater’s introduction to the show, it is the latter but everything that happens in between the beginning and end of the show qualifies as a redemption. Continue Reading

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