Search

Demon Barber and his sidekick serve up show of the year

09:40 18 July 2012

Imelda Staunton (Mrs Lovett) and Michael Ball (Sweeney Todd). Image by Johann Persson

Imelda Staunton (Mrs Lovett) and Michael Ball (Sweeney Todd). Image by Johann Persson

Archant

Few musicals will send a shiver down your spine in the way that Stephen Sondheim’s sadistic masterpiece Sweeney Todd does.

The combination of a darkly ingenious storyline, hair-raising score and quick-witted script make for a theatrical tour de force that lead actors Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton do absolute justice to.

The pair are immaculate in their depictions of the crazed Todd, left bereft and deranged after losing his beloved wife and daughter to sexual deviant Judge Turpin and Mrs Lovett, the earthy pie shop owner whose callous plan to serve up human meat to her unwitting customers makes her one of the greatest stage concoctions ever to grace the West End.

The tale – supposedly based on a real-life 18th century barber but never fully substantiated - is plucked out of Sondheim’s original Victorian backdrop to an interwar setting.

But despite that not quite working on paper, Jonathan Kent’s pacey, deeply involving and hilarious version more than lives up to the hype after its acclaimed Chichester Theatre run.

TV comic Jason Manford, in a limited summer run, proves he can cut the mustard in his hilarious turn as flamboyant phoney Italian Pirelli.

Ball – most commonly associated with dramatic turns as the gallant, bellowing hero - is simply superb in depicting the mechanisms at work in the mind of one of folklore’s most twisted characters.

Staunton is much more than his sidekick. She represents the very darkest side of the human psyche in her quest for both money and, ultimately, a life with the brute she loves.

This has to be the show of the year.

Sweeney Todd is at the Adelphi Theatre. See www.sweeneytoddwestend.com.

Latest News

Yesterday, 16:33
Stairway and lights in twilight.

New technology will save £5 million a year, it says

Yesterday, 10:18

Marking can act as a deterrent for thieves

Tue, 16:27
police

Mail including credit cards has gone missing

Tue, 13:40
Traffic jam on the road

Road was closed due to crash, but has re-opened

Tue, 09:27
Haringey Council has to slash £70m - or 25 per cent - from its budget by 2018. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Looking for local opinion on infrastructure changes

Tue, 09:05

Students from Pent Valley in Folkestone and Thamesview School in Gravesend will be joined by Provinciall Technisch Instituut in Kortrijk and Middenschool Van Het GO! from Ypres in Belgium to hold football matches to mark the centenary of the games that took place during the World War 1 Christmas Truce.

Most read

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Gravesend Reporter e-edition today E-edition