This blood-thirsty musical about the demon barber of Fleet Street may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a powerful story extremely well performed by a talented company.
Apart from the emotional ‘Not While I’m Around’, Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics are more dark and threatening than uplifting, which is, of course, understandable in view of the subject matter.
The vengeful Todd is back in circulation after being wrongly deported by a crooked judge who lusts after the barber’s beautiful wife, and he teams up with failing shop owner Mrs Lovett whose worst pies in London suddenly become the most popular with ingredients provided by the bodies of his victims.
Richard Poynton, who has been director of the company since 2007, has taken on his first official acting role with them and gives a stunning performance as Todd, sending some of his customers, throats cut, sliding into the grisly cellar.
His partnership with Maggie Page, playing Mrs Lovett, works perfectly. Maggie sings and acts splendidly, and despite the morbid style of her business, manages to lift the doom-laden atmosphere with some delightful humour.
Excellent contributions, too, from Tom Fletcher, Todd’s sailor friend Anthony Hope; Frazer Shine (Tobias Ragg), Katy Ball (beggar woman), Beth Lowe-Berwick (Johanna), Simon Docherty (Judge Turpin) and John Sheard (Beadle Bamford).
Skilfully directed by Charlotte Fletcher, with Ian Room’s musical direction. Sweeney Todd’s close shaves continue until Saturday night, and you can only speculate on how it will affect pie sales in the Green Room!
Paul Marston – Birmingham Mail, Thursday 13th March 2014
Sweeney Todd – Richard Poynton
Mrs Lovett – Maggie Page
Anthony Hope – Tom Fletcher
Johanna – Beth Berwick-Lower
Judge Turpin – Simon Docherty
The Beadle – John Sheard
Pirelli – Craig Smith
Tobias Ragg – Frazier Shine
Beggar Woman – Katy Louise Ball
Jonas Fogg – Craig Griffiths
Sarah Appleby, Elizabeth Ash, Charlotte Bacon, Connor Bacon, Helen Bacon, Paul Bailey, Geoff Bird, Karen Ball, Sapphire Brown, Stephen Clancy, Steph Coleman, Keilee Devey, Becky Edwards, Melissa Emery, Charlotte Fletcher, Ann Flint, Megan Glover, Jayne Hardy, Megan Hardy, Vicki Hardy, Grace Harvey, Heather Higgins, Joe Hillback, Phil James, Amy Jevons, Andy Jones, Faye Miller, Ashley Morris, Fran Morris, Jose Parr, Gill Westwood, Chloe Wharton
Director/Choreographer – Charlotte Mills
Musical Director – Ian Room
Production Advisor – Richard Poynton