Sweeney Todd: Terrifying the Stage Once Again
If horror movies were musicals, then "Sweeney Todd" would out-gore
them all. This wicked musical has been running for almost forty years. When it first opened on Broadway in 1979, it won the
Tony Award for Best Musical, with additional wins in eight of the nine categories for which it was nominated. With its eponymous
character taking the moniker "the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "Sweeney Todd" London tickets offer a terrifying musical
that delves into the heart of revenge and madness.
"Sweeney Todd" is a revenge tale filled with deliciously
gory antics. The upbeat music, colourful if deranged costumes, and manic characters accentuate the musical's underlying darkness.
Set in 1846, "Sweeney Todd" opens when the eponymous character returns home to London after years of living in exile. Todd
was falsely accused of a crime by Judge Turpin, who exiled him in order to pursue Todd's wife Lucy. After all this time, Todd
can think of nothing more than making his enemies suffer. Learning that Lucy poisoned herself to escape the Judge's clutches
and that his daughter, now named Johanna, is the Judge's ward, he vows he will make the Judge pay. Todd once again sets up
establishment as a barber living above Mrs. Lovett's meat pie shop, where he once lived with his wife and baby daughter. In
a gory turn of events, Todd realises how both he and Mrs. Lovett can help each other. Todd begins slashing throats he should
be barbering, sending the bodies down to Mrs. Lovett to make into her meat pies and boost her poor sales. Amidst this grim
situation, Johanna finds love with Anthony, a young sailor Todd befriended on his journey back to London. The two find their
lives increasingly interwoven with the violent events taking place on Fleet Street, as they battle the same men who ruined
Todd's life and now threaten to ruin Johanna's. Set against the gritty London backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, this
musical is not for the faint of heart, but it certainly provides a visual and acoustic feast.
musical comes to the London Coliseum, the city's largest theatre, thanks to the efforts of English National Opera. Whilst
several opera companies have staged "Sweeney Todd" in the past, this will be ENO's first time. Between this unique production
and the cast involved, "Sweeney Todd" tickets will be sure to sell out.
"Sweeney Todd" first appeared
on Broadway in 1979, and later in the West End in 1980. It's experienced several revivals, the last being in 2012. That production
went on to win the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. As if this lengthy and storied past didn't put pressure
enough on any cast that undertakes the musical's production, its writer, Stephen Sondheim, will be on hand for opening night
at the London Coliseum.
For this latest production, actress Emma Thompson will play Mrs. Lovett and opera
singer Bryn Terfel will play the man himself, Sweeney Todd. Both performers have played these roles before on Broadway to
immense critical acclaim, and will be reprising them for this London production. Whilst these two performers come to the stage
from slightly different backgrounds (Thompson has a lengthy and popular career in film; Terfel comes from the opera stage),
they bring a unique take on this bloody musical.
Famed Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim
wrote the music and lyrics for "Sweeney Todd," which he based on Christopher Bond's play by the same name. Hugh Wheeler wrote
the musical's book. The original Broadway cast included such favourites as Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), Len Cariou (Sweeney
Todd),Victor Garber (Anthony), Sarah Rice (Johanna), and Edmund Lyndeck (Judge Turpin). Hal Prince directed this cast, whilst
Larry Fuller oversaw choreography.
English National Opera heads this "Sweeney Todd" production, which
promises to be unlike anything else. Playing up the score's underlying operatic elements, ENO appears to be an ideal fit for
this particular musical favourite.