The Demon barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd the musical, has returned to London’s West End for a six month run of dark, scary theatre breaks ending on 22 September 2012.
This is the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd the musical starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. It is laced with dark humour dazzling wit and, of course, Stephen Sondheim’s infectious score.
If you have seen it before, or you have seen the film with Johnny Depp, you’ll know the story – of the man released from jail after years of false imprisonment who returns to London to find justice and exact retribution. Even if you haven’t seen it before you know the basic premise… barber uses his position of trust to dispatch his hirsute victims… hasn’t he heard of Movember?
He is aided and abetted by pie-shop owner Mrs Lovett: truly an oven-blessed relationship!
Michael Ball was last seen in the West End as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray for which he won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for best actor in a musical. He was also Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In London he has starred in Aspects of Love, Passion and The Woman in White but he is also a hugely recoreded artist with huge DVD sales and a string of sell out concerts to his name and regularly appear on telly for all manner of things – a proper star and a nice bloke!
Immelda Staunton won an Oscar for her last Sondheim role in London as the Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods. Since then she has graced both small and big screens – most notably in Vera Drake but maybe more popularly in the Harry Potter films. In the West End she has starred in Yasmina Reza’s Life X 3, Michael Hastings’ Calico, Frank McGuinness’s There Came a Gypsy Riding , Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane and Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance.
This production of Sweeney Todd the musical also comes with a warning that audience members may find some scenes upsetting – I should hope so too! I’ll stop writing if I start to think that Theatre Breaks audiences treat murder and cannibalism as just one of those things that goes on in London and that they are happy for their children under 12 to be a part of such an event!!
Directed by Jonathan Kent
Evenings: Monday-Saturday 7.30pm Matinees: Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm
There are some great hotels close to the Adelphi Theatre for your Sweeney Todd Theatre breaks – the Strand Palace Hotel, the 4 star Guoman Charing Cross and the 5 star Savoy which has only just re-opened after a multi multi million pound refurbishment.
If you don’t need to stay so close access to the theatre is very easy from almost anywhere in London – with a multitude of buses passing outside and four tube stations within an easy walk – see below. There are three levels of tickets available for Sweeney Todd theatre breaks – Lower, middle and top. – or as the marketeers would say Budget, Third Price and Top Price.
So you can save pennies with a Sweeney Todd theatre break including dinner, bed and breakfast, overnight accommodation at a central London hotel, service and VAT at 20%v AND those budget tickets for under £80 per person! WOW!
Address: The Strand London WC2E 7NA
Tube - The nearest tube stations are Covent Garden and Charing Cross but Embankment and Leicester Square also walkable.
Taxis - You should be able to hail a taxi outside the theatre but there is a rank down at Charing Cross Station
Buses - 6, 9, 11,13, 15, 23, 77A, 91, 139, 176
Parking - Single yellow lines and meters behind theatre on Maiden Lane. Meters further up. NCPs in Drury Lane and Upper St Martin’s Lane.
Adelphi Theatre Facilities
Facilities for Hard of Hearing: Yes – Infra Red
Disabled Access - Yes, Guide Dogs are also allowed
Bars – 4: 2 x Stalls, 1 x Dress Circle and 1x Grand Circle.
Catering - Ice Cream, confectionery
Toilet Facilities - Ground floor foyer: Ladies and disabled facilities. Stalls: Ladies by side bar, Gents in both side bar and rear bar. Dress Circle: Ladies and Gents by bar. Grand Circle: Ladies and Gents.
Air Conditioning is actually Air-cooled so not quite as effective!
I last saw this musical on stage in 1993 at the National Theatre with Alun Armstong & Julia MacKenzie in the lead roles. I also had a friend appearing in it and remember being sat in premium house seats.
Last night's performance of Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre, London, did not disappoint. Not that I ever thought it would! With a stellar cast of leading names such as Michael Ball, Imelda staunton & Peter Polycarpou it was not going to fail to entertain.
Michael Ball as the Demon Barber was unrecognisable and if you hadn't seen the posters outside you would be not be able to put a name to the face that appeared with dark hair & goatee beard. A long way from curlers and over-sized dresses in Hairspray!
Whatever you may think of Michael Ball, he is stunning and sinister and sensitive in this role. With Sondhiem you need to be able to act as well as sing and thank goodness, Ball can do both admirably.
Imelda Staunton as Mrs Lovett was hilarious and brought humour to the dark story of revenge and mistaken identity.
Praise also to Luke Brady who played love-lorn Anthony. His rich tenor voice was full of velvety chocolateness.
My only slight criticism was the casting of Tobias. Nothing against the actor, he did a fine job, but Toby for me should have appeared much younger and the haunting "Nothing's Going to Harm You" should have been sung so much softer. This song usually brings me to tears because it is so,so beautiful, but last night's redition left me cold and unmoved - sorry.
However, that moment aside, I am definitely able to recommend this show to you and whole heartedly give it 5 stars.