A bloody good time at the theater

Taylor Garlick is Sweeney Todd during his rehearsal on Nov. 9.

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is a gothic musical by Stephen Sondheim. It is a musical adaptation of the 1973 play by Christopher Bond, though most people probably recognize the title from the 2007 movie by Tim Burton. It is the current musical being put on by the Weber State University Theater department and will be running until Nov. 19.

Director Andrew Barratt Lewis said he has been wanting to put “Sweeney Todd” on for a few years now, but didn’t want to perform a dark musical during the pandemic.

“Sweeney Todd” is about a barber who is wrongly convicted and wants to get back at the man who sent him away and tried to steal his wife. On his journey for revenge, he runs into people he met before he was sent away, including Mrs. Lovett, a failing pie maker. Their partnership makes for pies that are truly “to die for.”

Mr. Todd first appeared in the 1847 melodrama “Penny Dreadful: The String of Pearls” written by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest in a weekly episode format. Several adaptations of “Sweeney Todd” existed before Sondheim’s, but Todd truly became a pop-culture icon of horror thanks to the 1979 musical.

The musical tells a similar story to the movie adaptation with a few of its own unique on-stage twists. While the story’s ending is spoiled in the beginning of the musical by the chorus, the movie keeps the plot a secret to the viewer. The movie also takes itself a bit more seriously, while the musical acknowledges the humorous plotline and characters.

The theater department brought the grimy streets of 19th century London to the stage thanks to costume designer Catherine Zublin and scenic designer Porter Lance.

Dixon Trumbo, a WSU student, played a young boy named Tobias Ragg, his character goes from helping a conman to being adopted by Lovett and Todd.

Trumbo was always interested in the performing arts as a kid, and when he saw the auditions for “Sweeney Todd,” he decided to try out. “Everyone is just so nice and I love just being able to be myself in this part,” Trumbo said.

The audience seemed to be engaged and enjoying the performance.

Rebecca Nolan and Genevieve Nolan attended the show to support the theater department and because they loved the movie version.

“It’s really good so far,” Nolan said during the intermission. “I’m really liking Mrs. Lovett. I like her comedy.”

The musical will continue to run until Nov. 19 and will be the last show put on by the Theatre Department until 2023.