It is a tribute to the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim’s art that two so different productions of his work are now staged in New York. Uptown on Broadway, Sunday in the Park with George illuminates the creative mind of Georges Seurat, and downtown on Barrow Street, at the Barrow Street Theater, The Tooting Art Club’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street inspires terror. With the theater tricked out as a pie shop, the audience seated at long tables designed for pub dining, the actors maneuver in your face, no matter that the play is essentially about a serial killer, a decent man brought low by the vagaries of Dickensian fate, his sidekick a woman trading in meat pies and, eh, alternate truths.
This is Sondheim’s collaboration with Hugh Wheeler, adapted by Christopher Bond. 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.