Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Book by Hugh Wheeler
From an adaptation by
Previews in the Open-Air at Oxted School.
Saturday 28th July & Sunday 29th July 2018
Minack Theatre on the cliffs at Porthcurno.
Monday 6th to Friday 10th August 2018
Described as a ‘musical thriller’, Sweeney Todd is a multi-award winning musical with a story of obsession and revenge set in Victorian London.
It is a dark and unsettling tale of a barber who returns home to London after fifteen years of exile to take revenge on the corrupt judge who ruined his life. When revenge eludes him, Sweeney swears vengeance on the entire human race, infamously dispatching as many people as he can, whilst conspiring with Mrs Lovett, who is in desperate need of fresh meat for her pies.
Perhaps Stephen Sondheim’s most perfect score, Sweeney Todd is lush, operatic, and full of soaring beauty, pitch-black comedy and stunning terror.
Sweeney Todd was produced by Richard Allen and Paul Robinson. Paul Longhurst once again joined us as Director, and our Musical Director was Steven Geraghty. Fiona Steel was our Assistant Director, and was also responsible for all the musical staging.
As with all previous Minack tours, the technical team was headed up by Bruce Reed (Technical Director) and our Stage Manager, Malcolm Le Croissette. Our largest and most complex Minack set ever was designed by Tara Usher.
This was the first time that Sweeney Todd had been presented at the Minack Theatre. There were 50 members of cast and the whole touring company totalled around 125 people.
Producer: Richard Allen
Associate Producer: Paul Robinson
Director: Paul Longhurst
Musical Director: Steven Geraghty
Assistant Director: Fiona Steel
Technical Director: Bruce Reed
Stage Manager: Malcolm Le Croissette
Assistant Stage Manager: Phil Littleford
Set Designer: Tara Usher
Production Design Consultant: Jill "Wigs" Wilson
Principals Costume Designer: Penelope Konstantara
Wardrobe Mistress: Janet Beatty
Costume Supplier: Elizabeth Callow
Lighting Designer: Carolyn Rowley
Lighting Projects: Andrew Bruce & Alistair Bruce
Sound Technician: James McLeod
Props Supervisor: Muriel Lister
Pirelli's Caravan Design: Martin Beatty
Hair & Makeup: Neila Dawes
Photography & Videography: Gordon Drayson
Sweeney Todd: Shane Perry
Mrs Lovett: Sarah Trotman
Anthony Hope: William Huke
Johanna: Rachel Kitchen
Judge Turpin: Nick Heritage
Tobias Ragg: Kaidyn Hinds
The Beadle: Paul Robinson
Beggar Woman: Sophie Grace
Aldolfo Pirelli: David Phipps-Davis
Jonas Fogg: Seb Junemann
Bird Seller: Jon Ford
Ensemble: Richard Allen - Faith Anderson - Sam Blackman-Gibson - Sarah Coldwell - Lars Evans - Stephen Fanis - Ripley Fanson - Charlotte Faulkes - Jon Ford - Izzy Golding - Abigail Harper - Eddie Hinds - Karen Holmes - Stephanie Hornett Johnson - Poppy Humphrey - Paul Hyde - Seb Junemann - Shannen Knutsen - Jane Kortlandt - Harry Ladd-Carr - Nicki Lewis - Adrian Martin - Debbie Martin - Julia Nash - Taya Possumato - Jo Phyphers - Alison Redford - Michael Saunders - Kathy Stokes - Gareth Thomas - Lilah Unwin - Jackie Violet - Mark Wakeford - Ali Westcott - CC Wiliamson - Lewis Wilmott - Christine Woodhead - Louise Wright - Ros Wright - Lara Young
Conductor: Steven Geraghty
Violin 1: Luke Waterfield
Violin 2: Rebecca Ryan
Viola: Jonathan Acton
Cello: Simon Williamson
Double Bass: Daniele Borgato
Trumpet 1: Graham Wright
Trumpet 2: Pete Cooper
Trombone 1: Simon Jones
Trombone 2: Richard Pywell
Horn: Raoul Neumann
Reed 1: Jin Theriault
Reed 2: Ben Marshall
Reed 3: Fran Reich
Reed 4: Paul Sanders
Reed 5: Neil Pardoe
Keyboard 1: Liam Connery
Keyboard 2: James Hall
Percussion: Dave Longman
By Jenni Balow:
Take my advice and eat your picnic before this dark and thrilling musical begins, because you certainly won’t have an appetite for your steak pasty, or anything meaty when you witness the grizzly contents of this award winning masterpiece by Stephen Sondheim and the Surrey-based Barnstormers.
This is a grim Victorian tale of the bloody revenge taken by the finest barber in the City of London, who returns 15 long years after being deported on a convict ship to Botany Bay by a Judge who takes a fancy to his beautiful wife, Lucy, and wants him well out of the way.
Todd is a brooding broken man, but pie-maker extraordinaire Nellie Lovett takes him under her wing, so to speak, and he is also rescued and then befriended on the ship home by Anthony, a young sailor, who will soon meet the barber’s beloved daughter, Johanna.
Producer Richard Allen has assembled nearly 120 actors, musicians, designers and technicians for this epic show that throbs to Sondheim’s insistent and repetitive counterpoint score, which he describes as “ranging in style from soaring beauty to pitch-black comedy and stunning terror” and I certainly go along with that.
Scaffolding has been used by production and set designer Tara Usher to erect complex and dramatic staging that includes a barber’s shop with a chute for the rapid disposal of certain clients into the cellar, and with a giant glowing oven for Mrs Lovett’s lovely pies.
And it is Sarah Trotman playing Mrs Lovett, who gives a star performance in partnership with Shane Perry as Todd. It is a wonderful role and she gives it everything she has, which is a fine feisty voice, and a wicked sense of dark humour.
They are great together and incomparable as they plot the contents of the pies – “a politician’s so oily, he’s served with a doily” – and when she dreams of something better By The Sea.
William Huke and Rachel Kitchen are utterly delightful as Anthony and Johanna, and in a different way, so are David Phipps-Davis as Pirelli and Kaidyn Hinds as Tobias, with Nick Heritage monstrous as the Judge and Paul Robinson as his nasty accomplice, who innocently asks the barber “do you pomade the hair?” and sings and plays an improbably sweet ditty on the harmonium.
Steven Geraghty makes a very sound debut at the Minack as musical director, with an orchestra that delivers scarily and screechingly as demanded.
The director Paul Longhurst, assisted by Fiona Steel, and technical director Bruce Reed, make a great team with costume designer Penelope Konstantara and Caro Rowley, with spot-on cue lighting.
Do you fancy a shave Sir, or a pie, perhaps?