The Light in the Piazza at Theater Three Would Benefit from Low Expectations

Good singing nearly saves T3's Piazza; good acting can't save Coronado; good times kill Sweeney Todd

There's nothing wrong with doing low-budget theater, but it can and should be done better than Coronado.

Nobody goes to The Pocket Sandwich Theater to see great art. You pay to take part in a melee, during which a play might accidentally break out. These nights, the frenzy of popcorn-throwing, heckling and general mayhem is interrupted only occasionally by Sweeney Todd: Fiend of Fleet Street, a fairly funny melodrama by Pocket founder Joe Dickinson, starring actors who should get hazard pay for putting up with the unruly, beer-swilling mobs out front.

Like a Chuck E. Cheese for grown-ups, Pocket, Dallas' only for-profit playhouse, encourages its audience to be part of the "entertainment." Free popcorn comes with the price of admish, and it's for hurling at the stage, not chomping as a snack. The performers, bless their hearts, give it their all—at least for the first act. After that, it hardly matters if they're acting or reciting grocery lists. As long as someone's onstage, it's an excuse for the groundlings to fling corn.

Italian undressing: Kimberly Whalen and Curt Mega play the lovers in Theatre Three's The Light in the Piazza
Andy Hanson
Italian undressing: Kimberly Whalen and Curt Mega play the lovers in Theatre Three's The Light in the Piazza

Location Info


Theatre Three

2800 Routh St., 168
Dallas, TX 75201

Category: Theaters

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn


Light in the Piazza continues at Theatre Three through November 23. Call 214-871-3300.

Coronado continues at The Hub through November 9. Call 214-749-7010.

Sweeney Todd: Fiend of Fleet Street continues at The Pocket Sandwich Theatre through November 15. Call 214-821-1860.

Hacked into three short acts with two overlong breaks (for the selling of more comestibles by servers in wench costumes), the show is still over in two hours, which seems reasonable. Anyone who bothers to pay attention will see sharp comic turns by Trista Wyly, as meat-pie maker Mrs. Lovett, and Daniel Baugh as Sweeney Todd, the murderous London barber who supplies the victims who turn up in Lovett's recipes.

The play's not really the thing packing them in at the Pocket (no lie, the place is always sold out). It's sing-alongs, crass jokes, cheap pitchers of suds and the chance to misbehave in public. But those poor actors—they don't even get tips. And they must spend hours after each show picking stale kernels out of their hair.

Light in the Piazza


Sweeney Todd: Fiend of Fleet Street

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