Sweeney Todd is intense
Sometimes called the darkest musical ever written, Sweeney Todd is also a thriller.
The Abbey Musical Theatre production is often thrilling, too, maintaining emotional intensity for long periods.
This is offset by humour, which is crucial for the audience to develop empathy with the central character, the murderous Sweeney Todd.
Portraying the demon barber of Fleet St, Glen Nesbit goes from calculating, to crazy and cynical as he plots revenge against a corrupt judge who badly wronged him.
Much of the show depends on selling the disturbing partnership Todd has with Mrs Lovett, played with aplomb by Tracey-Lynne Cody.
Their acting is assured and sensitive, and there are also other fine voices on show, none more accomplished than Madison Horman and Michael Doody’s.
There are several lovely duets, Chris Thompson’s Anthony with Mady Horman’s Johanna being one, while Read Wheeler’s rendition of Not While I’m Around is a poignant delight.
However, the show’s start felt a little awkward and there was the occasional uncertain By Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler Directed, designed and stage by Scott Andrew Musical director Graham Johnston Abbey Auditorium March 3 – 19
moment on opening night.
Stephen Sondheim’s score is immensely difficult to navigate and the backing track is often unhelpful, but the cast rises above these challenges to present an epic achievement.
The storylines converge in the second act and the desperation associated with the circumstances is almost palpable as the climax nears.
Director Scott Andrew’s often dimly- lit stage is an effective element amid many mood changes.
There are moments where it feels like Romeo and Juliet or The Phantom of the Opera, and there are times when cast and audience alike are mesmerised as the story unfolds. It’s the sort of show some people will go and see more than once.
Vengefully murderous barber and cut-throat psychopath Sweeney Todd, played by Glenn Nesbit performs a shave on Ollie Nesbit in a scene from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.