This was my first time going to Kordazone Theatre and I must admit I had my reservations when I approached the older, somewhat sketchy-looking building that almost resembled a church; however, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the intimate theatre and impressive stage assembly the moment I walked in the doors. I had the pleasure of seeing Cardinal Music Productions “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” on Sunday November 13th.
Korda Artistic Productions is mounted on stage at the 115-seat theatre is a magical performing arts space that has an older 19th century vibe with a small set that has two large staircases on each side. There is two doors on each side of the set that have a curtain blocking them. There is only a table and two chairs in the middle of the stage.
The infamous tale of Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled demon barber, who returns to nineteenth century London, begins seeking revenge against the lascivious judge who framed him and ravaged his young daughter and avenge the loss of his wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful owner of a failing pie shop. Todd joins ventures with her and opens a new barber shop on top of her business. Mrs. Lovett’s bad luck swiftly changes when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up to get a taste. The massacre has only begun.
This production was one of the best live plays I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Producer, Joseph Anthony Cardinal, and Director, Bayleigh Cardinal, put on a must-see performance and I will be attending future productions. The production starts with lights off, but the audience sees there was a table with a man laying beneath a sheet. The rest of the cast ensemble was spread across the entire stage in complete darkness.
Christopher Lawrence Menard was the PERFECT cast for our main protagonist and titular character, Sweeney Todd. He was perfectly complimented by deuteragonist, Mrs Lovett, portrayed by Tracey B. Atin. Menard gave an emotional and impassioned portrayal of this infamous character and gave off the perfect balance of evil but you want to root for him and you want him to get his revenge. His voice is so beautiful, and it made for such a powerful performance. Atin was the perfect counterpart and had such a charming accent that you couldn’t help but love her character even though she was doing some cannibalistic stuff. Brandon Presley and Breannah Presley are a match made in heaven and gave off a very intimate and soft touch the play needed to add that extra layer to the story.
The set and the props were well-made and essential to the story telling of this musical. The blocking was perfectly set for the stage space and the lighting of the musical masterpiece was so effective and perfectly timed. It was complimentary to what the story was implying that it really added another level of drama to it. A quirky directorial decision was to turn the lights red whenever a character met their maker, Sweeney Todd. The sound was near-flawless, and the music made a very impactful emotional addition to the performance. The costuming was beautiful and gave off the 19th century setting the story was portraying and the makeup was simple but effective.
I would absolutely recommend seeing this play and any future Cardinal productions. It was fantastic overall and consistently entertaining. The entire cast was so talented, and the costuming was perfection. There were times where I had chills, I laughed, and I was thoroughly entertained.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street continues this weekend (Nov. 18-20) and ends the following weekend (Nov. 25-27). Tickets are available at Cardinal Music (2569-B Jefferson. Windsor), by phone at 519-944-5800 or at the door if the show isn’t sold out.