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Venue: Paget Rooms, Penarth | Featuring our youth theatre cast.

"Evil Judge Turpin lusts for the beautiful wife of a London barber and transports him to Australia for a crime he did not commit. Returning after 15 years and calling himself Sweeney Todd, the now-mad man vows revenge, applying his razor to unlucky customers and shuttling the bodies down to Mrs. Lovett  who uses them in her meat-pie shop. Though many fall to his blade, he will not be satisfied until he slits Turpin's throat."

"From the moment we entered the Paget Rooms, the Audience was immersed in the squalor of Victorian London that provided the grey and grimy backdrop to this tale of Obsession and Revenge.

From the street urchins to the hawkers and traders, the pie merchants selling their pies of dubious content (actually delicious) to the sinister Judge and Beadle the atmosphere, whilst welcoming, felt strangely intimidating and certainly set the mood for what was to come. Lighting, sound and set design were also huge contributing factors to the overall sense of menace.

Cast members entering and exiting through and performing amongst the audience served to reinforce the feeling that we were a part of rather than apart from the story being told.

The Wall of Sound that greeted us with the opening Ballad of Sweeney Todd and the vocal performances throughout, both Choral and Solo, were a joy to the ears particularly given the notoriously difficult nature of Sondheim scores and was testament to the excellent work of MD David George Harrington, the orchestra, the Chorus – both static and moving, and all the performers.

Pukka are respected and renowned for their work with younger performers and their inclusion in this otherwise dark and sinister tale throughout, particularly as Victorian bathers, special note should be given to Sue Williams for the fantastic costume throughout, in the beautiful By The Sea provided charmingly lighter moments.

Director Sarah Creasey and Choreographer Sarah Hudson are to be applauded for their innovative and sensitive use of the younger performers.

The scene where the Lustful Judge finally consummates his desire for Todd’s young wife was elegantly and sympathetically handled as to cause no one in cast or audience to feel uncomfortable...

More Hot Pies and City on Fire were fantastic contrasts in mood featuring superb choral harmonies underpinned by a light touch but hugely effective choreography.

So to the Principals. The quality of the rest of the production demanded a degree of excellence from the main cast and this is exactly what it got.

From the superbly menacing Glyn Anthony Thomas as the manic Fogg, the flamboyant but fraudulent Pirelli played by Jared Cornish, Katy Bond’s the frenzied but innocent Beggar Woman, Chris Banks, subservient but amoral Beadle, the Lustful and degenerate Judge portrayed by Nick Pratt, the object of Judge’s desire, the innocent and ultimately unattainable Joanna played by Joanne Fowler as Joanna and the naive but love-struck Anthony played by Luke Hereford.

Which brings me to the three main characters of the musical, Tobias, fantastically played by the young but immensely talented Michael Gibbs, surely a star of the future; the lovelorn Mrs Lovett so beautifully played by Kelly Virgill and, finally, the man himself, Sweeney Todd magnificently portrayed by Michael Bennett, these three superb performers were the glue that held this magnificent production together.

My only complaint was that, like Dickens’ Oliver, I left the theatre wanting MORE"

Publicised Review of Sweeney Todd 2016

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