Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim BROS Theatre Company, Hampton Hill Theatre,
BROS Theatre Company
Hampton Hill Theatre - 22 October 2019
Sweeney Todd is a gruesome and gripping musical with music and lyrics by American composer Stephen Sondheim and has just opened at the Hampton Hill Theatre by the BROS Theatre Company this week.
Based on the 1973 play, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond, which was originally set in Victorian London, the plot revolves around a vengeful barber who is on the hunt for the evil Judge Turpin. Turpin had transported him to Australia for a crime he didn’t commit, for the Judge had designs on Sweeney’s wife. Despite being written for the 1850s the show is indeed relevant to our own present-day problems with crime, for revenge and punishment are central to the plot. BROS’ slick and innovative production by Paul Turnbull is certainly a modern day approach.
Sondheim, now 89 years old, considers the work ‘a little horror show’ though in reality it’s a true reflection of his own life, which was much troubled in his early formative years. Luckily for us, he emerged into a great writer, learning much of his trade from Oscar Hammerstein. Sir Cameron Mackintosh describes Sondheim as “possibly the greatest lyricist ever”.
The opening ensemble number The Ballad of Sweeney Todd immediately transports us to the East End of London, namely Fleet Street, EC4, where the demon barber resides making a heinous living. With thirty-three musical numbers plus dialogue taking just over two hours and twenty minutes, there is not a dull moment.
BROS Theatre Company certainly displayed a strong, committed and mature approach with a dynamic cast led by Sam Sugarman in the title role who enjoyed brandishing his glistening blade with purposeful viciousness.
Jonathan Warriss-Simmons as Anthony sings and acts with conviction as the love-struck hero and displays control and command particularly in his song Joanna, a theme used again and again by Sondheim. Georgina Skinner as Joanna is the heroine who also has some great tunes, at times soaring to top B flats displaying her pure dulcet tones.
For Full review: http://markaspen.com/2019/10/16/sweeney/
A Cutting Edge Production