11 Sep - 17 Nov
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
A Musical Thriller
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
From an adaptation by Christopher Bond
Originally directed by Harold Prince
Original orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Sweeney Todd fills a void with a bloody and blind quest for vengeance. Those who enter his shop get more than a close shave. The unlucky ones ending up in Mrs Lovett’s rather unsavoury pies, proving you are what you eat.
Sondheim’s masterpiece is by turns hugely funny, terrifying and deeply sad. It works on a number of different levels, is complex but always engaging. In a scene of high comedy, Mrs Lovett explains why hers are ‘The worst pies in London’. In another, Sweeney is reunited with the razor blades he left behind when he was wrongfully imprisoned. There are few scenes like it. On one hand it is disturbing – he regards the razors as his friends and begins to be distanced from the real world – but it is also strangely moving. The musical’s finale is devastating but also hugely cathartic.
James Brining’s thrilling production is set in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It emphasises Sondheim’s message that it’s not just Sweeney who is insane. Through its corruption and inequality, society is totally mad. See Sweeney Todd and you’ll find that it buries itself in your consciousness and refuses to leave. Sweeney Todd has all the emotional impact of the greatest operas. It deserves to be performed by the forces of our Chorus and Orchestra.
• Performances start at 7.15pm, except Cardiff on 8 & 9 October, 24, 25, & 27 November at 7.30pm and 26 & 28 at both 2pm and 7.30pm and 29 November at 2pm
• Running time approximately three hours ten minutes including one interval
• Sung in English (please note there will be no surtitles)
• Amplification will be used in this production in line with music theatre practice
‘This is a fascinating, febrile evening, but not one for those who like their musical theatre succulent and untroubling. It spares the audience nothing, and like one of Mrs Lovett’s meat pies it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.’ The Guardian
Originally produced on Broadway by Richard Barr, Charles Woodward, Robert Fryer, Mary Lea Johnson, Martin Richards in association with Dean and Judy Manos
Presented by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of New York
Co-production with Wales Millennium Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Royal Exchange Theatre
Conductor James Holmes
Director James Brining
Designer Colin Richmond
Lighting Designer Chris Davey
Choreographer Anna Morrissey
Sweeney Todd David Arnsperger
Mrs Lovett Janis Kelly
Anthony Hope Jamie Muscato
Johanna Barker Soraya Mafi
Judge Turpin Steven Page
Tobias Ragg George Ure
Beadle Bamford Aled Hall
Beggar Woman Charlotte Page
After 15 years of wrongful imprisonment, barber Sweeney Todd returns to London in search of his wife and daughter. He loses his mind when pie-shop owner Mrs Lovett reveals their respective murder and mistreatment at the hands of a sinister Judge. His grizzly quest for revenge leads to a heartbreaking discovery.