The musical thriller is set in 19th century England and follows the story of Sweeney Todd, a barber who is returning to London after 15 years in exile and he is looking to take revenge on the judge who banished him.
Many audience members might be familiar with the movie adaptation of the story, starring Johnny Depp, but Jim Sato, who plays Sweeney Todd in RTOP’s version, said the stage production is much different.
“There’s a lot of humor in the play that the movie doesn’t include,” Sato said. “As a fan of the musical, I was very familiar with the story but never dreamed of actually playing this character.”
Although Sato doesn’t have much in common with his character, who spends the majority of the play with a blade in hand and seeking blood, he said becoming Sweeney Todd has taught him a lot about anger.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an angry person, but this play depicts how people’s back story can be attributed to their emotions and actions,” Sato said. “It’s so much more than someone seeking revenge on someone else.”
The man whose neck is on the line is none other than Judge Turpin, played by Kevin Keifer, who is also RTOP’s stage manager. Keifer said his character is somewhat of a tortured soul, and although he’s unsavory and not a very likable character, he hopes he represents on stage the judge’s internal struggle.
“Judge Turpin is someone who maintains a strong and tough exterior, but he knows that on the inside he’s flawed and has issues,” Keifer said. “I think that’s a quality that will resonate with a lot of people.”
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” contains content that may not be suitable for younger audiences.
If You Go
What: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
When: 7:30 tonight-Sunday and Wednesday-Nov. 15 with 1:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays
Where: Regional Theatre of the Palouse, 122 N. Grand Ave., Pullman
Cost: Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at www.rtoptheatre.org.