Ends Dec 31

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tooting Arts Club)

Members say: Great singing, Great staging, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting
89
Critics
85
56 reviews
Members
90
404 reviews
 

Tooting Arts Club's immersive staging of Sondheim and Wheeler’s iconic musical thriller transfers from London to NYC's Barrow Street Theatre. Now starring Tony nominee Carolee Carmello.

... Read more

After being wrongfully imprisoned by the corrupt Judge Turpin, escapee Benjamin Barker uses the alias Sweeney Todd to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop. He swears vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart, and hatches a plot with Mrs. Lovett that leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences. Instead of a traditional theater setting, this revival is set inside a 360-degree replica environment of Harrington's Pie & Mash shop. The action takes place downstairs on and around the shop’s service counter and four nearby tables. While there is no formal audience participation, certain seats are very close to the players. Pie and mash is served beginning one hour prior to each performance.

 

Cast & Creatives (23)


Reviews (460)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
85
Avg Score

60
The New York Times

"Delivers on its ingenious, if limited, objective...This 'Sweeney' may raise your pulse rate....Yet unlike almost every previous 'Sweeney' I’ve seen, this one rarely penetrates your heart and mind. What we’re presented with is a self-contained, darkness-steeped spook house. And as with many amusement park entertainments, the jolts it elicits leave few aftershocks...It allows you to squeeze your partner’s arm in delighted anxiety, without paying the price of insomnia to come." Full Review

85
Theatermania

"Carmello is a revelation as Mrs. Lovett, unlocking the comic potential in one terrifyingly determined character...Lewis compensates with a velvety baritone that is able to express all the musical nuances in the score, even when there is nothing nuanced about his acting...Buckhurst's inventive staging makes us believe that any story can be told in any space with enough imagination." Full Review

90
Theatermania

“A thrillingly immersive revival, which takes an already great musical and turns it into a heart-pounding visceral experience…Secomb combines the efficient physicality of a remorseless killer with a truly lovely singing voice…Director Bill Buckhurst excels at drawing out suspense and tension in his staging…Tooting Arts Club's production is full of such memorable surprises. It pulls us into the heart of the story like no other musical playing in New York right now.” Full Review

95
BroadwayWorld

"A chance to see two top-shelf singer/actors, Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello, transform a production that opened as an amusing Grand Guignol melodrama into a deeply moving and gorgeously sung evening of thrilling musical theatre...Lewis gives full value to Sondheim's music...His Sweeney Todd isn't a madman, but rather an emotionally wounded human driven to madness...Carmello draws you in with her character's absurd self-effacing humor and breaks your heart." Full Review

85
Variety

"The voices of the cast are uniformly robust. Secomb’s piercing glare and growling baritone give the demon barber the kind of sex appeal that makes mincemeat of a lusty lady like Mrs. Lovett...This tight-knit company, some of whom have been with the show since it originated in Tooting, also has a flair for the show’s undercurrents of black humor...All in all, this cheerily gory show is great family fun — if your family happens to be the Munsters." Full Review

85
Time Out New York

"Sondheim and Wheeler’s killer-cannibal musical cuts a fine figure with a mostly new cast...In the title role, Norm Lewis is glum in repose but comes scarily alive when prowling through the audience, and Carolee Carmello is a vicious, hilarious marvel as his amoral and clingy accomplice, Mrs. Lovett. Even if you've seen 'Sweeney' many times already, Carmello makes it worth revisiting: She's giving a meaty, delicously human star performance." Full Review

95
Time Out New York

“This high-concept staging is a bloody wonder…Bill Buckhurst and a hugely talented cast make this site-specific 'Sweeney' seem as natural as pie and mash…In this claustrophobic environment, the horror and madness is palpable…The sonic joys of Sondheim’s richly woven score and the Grand Guignol shocks of this primal tragedy are almost unbearably intense...This thrilling, overwhelming 'Sweeney' is a full-course meal: hot from the oven and dripping blood." Full Review

90
New Yorker

“Sondheim’s mid-career masterpiece…‘Sweeney Todd’ is filled with so much wonder that, especially when you have a cast and a director as talented as those involved in this London import, it can temporarily erase the memory of the cynicism or knowingness that informs so many other current productions..The actors perform without mugging. Their characterizations are organic, and they open Sondheim’s brilliant lyrics up to a new freshness: their interpretations are those of actors, not stars.” Full Review

85
The Huffington Post

"The terrific, pint-sized, meat pie & mash production of 'Sweeney Todd' has gotten terrificker, to coin a nongrammatical but pretty much accurate adjective...Altogether enhanced by the presence of a pair of strong-singing Broadway vets...The slight weakness of the production when it opened, for me, was the Lovett; good enough, but lacking the glazed insanity that need lurk near the surface of the character. Carolee Carmello shows us how it should be done!" Full Review

80
The Huffington Post

"This is a pint-sized production of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler opus...Sondheim’s piano score for the musical is richly vibrant and as played by musical director Matt Aument, thoroughly and thrillingly fills the room...Yes, I prefer the full Jonathan Tunick treatment; but it wouldn’t work, or fit, here...The engagement seems to be an instant hit...This pie-shop 'Sweeney Todd' makes a tasty rendition of Sondheim’s masterwork, and serves up the show with style and thrills." Full Review

85
New York Magazine / Vulture

"The gimmick, and the close quarters it entails, make this the most frightening 'Sweeney Todd' I’ve seen...The director Bill Buckhurst frequently has his cast bellowing in a space that doesn’t require it. It’s very effective, if at a cost to beauty...The score is a marvel of ingenious counterprogramming. That’s what makes the thrills thrill. The new production unfortunately flattens some of these effects...Still, when a production gets more than halfway there, it’s plenty. This one does." Full Review

90
DC Theatre Scene

“Secomd as Sweeney Todd and Siobhán McCarthy as Mrs. Lovett are two of the four holdovers from the London production, and their simultaneously chilling and hilarious performances are reason enough to make this a must-see show…The other four cast members are welcome additions for the New York transfer…This production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ somehow feels seminal.” Full Review

85
Theater Life

"A radical staging shift does not diminish its power...Places the thrilling tale...in its most logical setting—a meat pie shop—and the results are deliciously devilish...Buckhurst uses the intimate setting to create a terrifyingly close experience...Music director Matt Aument and his trio manage to impart the lushness of Sondheim’s complex and gorgeous score...Jeremy Secomb is probably the most frightening Sweeney you’ll ever see." Full Review

90
Lighting & Sound America

"In this environment, and with such a gifted company, the musical's rattling terrors and jet-black comedy are felt with a power that, for me, recalls the electrifying effect of the original, still one of the top five experiences I've had in four decades of theatregoing...Everything in Buckhurst's production is infused with imagination...Buckhurst makes judicious use of audience interaction without ever undermining the show's savage viewpoint, its cruel and sinister jokes." Full Review

90
Front Row Center

"The intimacy of the space is captivating. The actors move in and about the tables and customers. The fourth wall comes down with a flourish and then pops back up again...These actors march through the story like an army on the move. They take no prisoners, and make you sit up and pay attention, not only through their intimacy, but through their plain old skill. This is an ensemble that cares as much about each other as they do about the story...This production is magic. Pure and fine." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

“As a concept, it holds together remarkably well…All these clashing sentiments burn bright in an accomplished ensemble combining London holdovers with newcomers…The urgency and immediacy of its storytelling make it a terrific introduction to a glittering musical by a composer at the peak of his powers, and also an invigorating new spin for audiences who know and love this brilliantly conceived Victorian nightmare.” Full Review

50
AM New York

"The pie shop concept is cute at first, but 'Sweeney' is a heavily-plotted drama that involves many different locations. This production is awkwardly staged...At its best, 'Sweeney' can be terrifying, mesmerizing and sweeping, but this production sacrifices the storytelling and score for the sake of a gimmick. The cast is decent but not noteworthy." Full Review

60
New York Daily News

“The show is intimate, inventive and as in-your-face as it gets...Reprising lead roles, Jeremy Secomb brings unblinking intensity as the titular throat-slitting barber, while Siobhan McCarthy is deftly daft as the baker who grinds victims into meat pies. Amid the atmosphere, narrative clarity can come out underbaked. Who’s that? Wasn’t the oven over there? And in a musical about justice, the singing doesn’t always do that to the majestic score.” Full Review

65
Deadline

“While I am no fan of these mini-Sondheims, there are many pleasures to recommend this revival, adroitly staged by Bill Buckhurst in Simon Kenny’s uncanny setting. Atop the menu are Jeremy Secomb, truly, mesmerizingly terrifying in the title role…The other roles are superbly cast as well…Benjamin Cox’s arrangements for trio have their charms, but power doesn’t figure in the mix...This 'Sweeney Todd' provides delectable finger food when what you really want is the full meal.” Full Review

90
CurtainUp

“Brilliantly inventive…Director Bill Buckhurst's approach is great fun…Everything about this propulsive staging works beautifully...A bigger orchestra could hardly top the effectiveness of this production's chamber sized threesome…None of this clever immersiveness would work without a cast who can deliver on all counts. And the Brits who pioneered the London hit do so with flying colors, as do the Americans who have now joined them.” Full Review

89
Front Mezz Junkies

“Piping hot and tasty is this inventive revival…Once the lights go out, the show kicks in with full force. From the first note sung, we know we are in for a solid fantastic meal here…This production is filled to the brim with great voices, creativity, and a perfectly cast group of actors. Not one bad ingredient in the lot…The whole production is more fun and startling, rather than dark and moody which works so well in the environmental set-up." Full Review

75
Newsday

“Just 10 actors play all the characters with creep-fest glee, if not always vocally astonishing power. Jeremy Secomb’s baritone is a little light for Sweeney’s deepest dark heart…Sondheim’s score is expertly reduced to just a piano, strings and wind trio. Somehow, Sondheim’s restless chromatics, the difficult disjunct vocal lines, the extended song forms and, especially, the wrenchingly beautiful choral writing are approached with the affection and awe they deserve.” Full Review

93
Bob's Theater Blog

"With his dead eyes, hollow cheeks and slicked-back hair, Jeremy Secomb is a very scary Todd. Any vocal shortcomings are more than made up for by his commanding presence. Siobhan McCarthy is as fine a Mrs. Lovett as I have seen...Kudos to director Bill Buckhurst for holding everything together. It’s a unique theatrical experience that I highly recommend. I also suggest ordering the pre-show pot pie and mash for $20 with beverage." Full Review

85
NorthJersey.com

“A riotously entertaining evening you won’t soon forget…The brilliance of the work, directed by Bill Buckhurst, is that while it generates plenty of laughs, it never loses touch with the terror of the story…The production is a marvel of site-specific theater, using the audience to help tell the story in a tightly packed room in which sounds and lights are pretty much the only staging aids…It’s theater-in-the-small, but it has a big impact." Full Review

90
The Huffington Post

“The excellent company work the crowd as is now the custom in immersive theater. Favorite songs as are beautifully done in juxtaposition with Todd’s machinations with the incomparable Mrs. Lovett. Siobhan McCarthy inhabits this role with a gorgeous voice and murderous glee…Under Bill Buckhurst’s direction, the play moves apace, and is a serious hoot. You are not likely to have more fun at any other play this season.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
90
Avg Score

93
Absorbing, Delightful, Dizzying, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you want to have a fantastic time; I loved it so much from the balcony I bought expensive seats to see it again the very same week

Don't see it if you don't want to see Carmello do the quintessential Mrs. Lovett; or if you didn't realize that Lewis is no longer in it

Also I was able to see it before Norm Lewis and many other cast members lef... Read more Read less

87
Edgy, Entertaining

See it if you love a classic Stephen Sondheim show with great music. You loved in before and you'll love this new production.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of Stephen Sondheim. This is a good production but not fantastic like the original version. Interesting.. not a must see

90
Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Awesome

See it if If you're a fan of Sweeney, and like a smaller show. Just plain, good fun. Imaginative with great actors with fabulous voices.

Don't see it if You're looking for the huge productions of past Sweeneys.

100
Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You love Sweeney Todd. Even if you don't, you might never have as much fun at the theatre as you will experiencing this unique production

Don't see it if You want nothing to do with Mr. Todd..

90
Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Great version of classic musical set in a theater converted into a pie shop. The 3 piece musical ensemble was terrific.Excellent cast!

Don't see it if You feel you've seen too many productions of this musical.However,you've never seen anything similar to this special version.

82
Clever, Great acting, Different

See it if you love interactive theatre or love the show and want to see it portrayed in a different way.

Don't see it if you have hearing trouble because the actors do not wear microphones.

90
Great acting, Masterful, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like Sondheim and want to see a production of this show with as brilliant a duo in the two lead roles as have ever played them!

Don't see it if you like your productions BIG and don't want to experience how powerful eight people can make this once huge show.

Also The leading actors I am raving about are Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmel... Read more Read less

95
Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Resonant, Great staging

See it if You want to see one of Sondheim's best shows done in a remarkably unique and immersive way. Very entertaining and just as chilling as ever.

Don't see it if You don't like being fully immersed. It's not terrible, but the actors are very close and around you.

90
Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You want to see the best Sweeney Todd yet! Carolee was an awesome Mrs Lovett. Supporting cast good. Set was fun. Staging clever

Don't see it if You aren't a Sweeney fan. Or don't like dark musicals.

Also Heads up. The front 1/2 of the house is long tables that the actors us... Read more Read less

90
Absorbing, Edgy, Great singing, Great staging, Immersive

See it if you like immersive theatre and being up close and personal with the action. This is an inventive staging of the classic Sondheim hit.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with actors in your personal space, or don't care for Sondheim or stories about grizzly murders.

95
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You want to see the meat pies being made

Don't see it if You don't enjoy a grisly story seen very closely

86
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you don't mind less elaborate (but fun) staging; you love the show; you want to see a great cast perform the show

Don't see it if you want to hear every word (no mikes - sometimes you'll miss things, but if you know the show well, it won't matter)

Also I sat in row F and it was perfect in terms of seeing a lot of action (... Read more Read less

90
Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, In-ur-face immersive

See it if you like different theatre experiences

Don't see it if you are expecting Sweeney Todd the "Musical" while both Mr Lewis & Ms Carmello have amazing voices the production's about acting & comedy

Also I thoroughly enJOYed the Harrington's Pie Shop experience - the Meat a... Read more Read less

92
Absorbing, Masterful, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if No ifs, ands or buts, just go see it. The cast is so talented and the staging is unique, personal and intimate. Sondheim at his best.

Don't see it if Sometimes it's difficult to understand the words being sung because the music is a little too loud-not a big deal. Try it, you'll like it!

90
Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Great staging

See it if If you have enjoyed Sweeny in the past. The staging and performances of this production are amazing and add another layer to the story.

Don't see it if Audience interacting or unique staging. If you are not a fan of this musical's themes, but this production might just make you a fan.

Also Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello were the best Sweeny and Mrs. Lovett, ... Read more Read less

100
Clever, Edgy, Intense, Masterful, Refreshing

See it if you like being immersed in a show and the actors up close, love this show.

Don't see it if audience participation isn't for you, you are easily triggered by gore and sexual predators.

97
Delightful, Great acting, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Don't know when I've seen a cast or an audience have so much fun. Pure joy despite dark gory moments (it's Sweeney after all). GREAT cast.

Don't see it if you're very sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, fake blood or simulated murders. Brilliant cast leaving Aug, new cast prob great too

Also Go early and have the delicious meat (or veggie) pies and a glass of w... Read more Read less

75
Great acting, Overrated, Engaging, Solid, Clear

See it if you want to see a great performance from Carolee Carmello, or the prospect of actors being mere feet from you at all times excites you.

Don't see it if the gimmick of being sat in a pie shop does not excite you. Everyone has to constantly turn and shift their views as the actors move around.

100
Absorbing, Must see, Riveting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love a small intimate setting for a huge and amazing show. Norm was a surprisingly amazing/scary Todd & Carolee the perfect Lovett!

Don't see it if You don't like the show, closed small spaces, moving around in your seat to see well and are scared by the show in a normal setting.

91
Clever, Exquisite, Must see, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you love Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmelo. Great performances. Wonderful reimagining of an old show. Staging and production a real joy.

Don't see it if you hate wonderful theater.

95
Great acting, Masterful, Great singing, Great staging, Intimate

See it if you want to see an intimate staging of a classic musical with the rich voices of Norm Lewis & Carolee Carmello...and eat meat pies...

Don't see it if You dislike minimal audience participation, aren't into "violent" musicals or do not like an in-your-face experience with the cast.

Also As if the lush voices of Norm Lewis (Sweeney) and the beautifully comi... Read more Read less

89
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting

See it if you want a Sweeney done right, where they know it's a funny show.

Don't see it if you aren't a Sondhiem fan.

Also I think this worked very well. I will say that the changes they made (... Read more Read less

88
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great staging, Carolee is amazing!, Yummy

See it if you like experiential theatre and want to see a masterful performance from the one and only Carolee Carmello

Don't see it if you dont like "in your face" (literally) theatre

99
Absorbing, Riveting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want your socks blown off. I could not have loved this production more! Do the dinner pie option beforehand!

Don't see it if You don't like Sondheim, dark themes, minimal gore, immersive theater.

98
Absorbing, Masterful, Must see, Great singing, Great staging

See it if Blown away! Norm, Carmelo and cast amazing. Staging was brilliant. Perfect immersion.

Don't see it if Go see it... pay for the best seats. It makes it and it's worth it.