‘Sweeney Todd’ opens to nearly full house


Jonathan Blum (Sweeney Todd) and Brianne Hidden-Wise (Mrs. Lovett) after the performance.

Korbl Klimecki and Korbl Klimecki

The theatre department of American River College opened their performance of Christopher Bond’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s play “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on a high note Oct 12.

A vicious barber stalks across stage, spittle flying with his each and every inflection, glistening in the air as he sings of fatalistic belief and murderous intent, calling for customer-cum-victims.

Just over 200 people attended the performance, reportedly a typical turnout for opening night in the 366 seat theater, according to the ARC Theatre department.

Director Nancy Silva and lead actor Jonathan Blum spoke proudly and enthusiastically after the performance, expressing their belief that the performance went well.

It is based on an adaptation of the Steven Sondheim musical, itself an adaptation of a Hugh Wheeler book. The story follows a barber, wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit by a corrupt judge who coveted the man’s beautiful wife. Returned from the Botany Bay Penal Colony, the man now seeks bloody revenge, and quickly throws in his lot with a meat pie baker whose shop is below what was, and becomes once again, his own barbershop. After a hasty murder to keep a rival barber from extorting him, the pair decide to help the poor baker’s business through the use of the barber’s victims in pies. As the plot grows, tendrils of story reaching, the barber learns that the judge took custody of his child, Joanna, who catches the eye of a sailor who rescued Sweeney from jetsam.

The production runs from Oct. 12-28, with 8 p.m. showings on Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m. showings on Thursday, and 2 p.m. showings on Sundays. Tickets are $15 general, $12 student, seniors and SARTA, and can be purchased at the box office, over the phone at (916) 484-8234, or online at www.seatyourself.biz/arctheatre.