The Everyman Theatre’s latest production is the musical thriller, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and is both parts as thrilling and musical as promised.
Under the direction of Nick Bagnall, the limited cast of nine with an additional four-piece band strip back the elaborate play to align more with the composer, Stephen Sondheim’s vision of the gruesome nineteenth century tale.
The stage is set around a circular metal grate with limited props and visual distractions so your attention is drawn to the cast who remain on stage for the majority of the performance, executing costume changes throughout. The costumes for the performance have the characters dressed in contemporary style outfits which brings the story into the modern-day and provides a gritty revival to the Victorian legend.
The cast itself is made up of soap stars Liam Tobin and Kacey Ainsworth, as Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett. Alongside them, they are supported by equally talented actors who each provide their own unique addition to the performance. Kacey Ainsworth’s outstanding performance as Mrs Lovett cannot go unmentioned, her endless energy onstage paired with Tobin’s disturbingly dark interpretation of Todd adds further dimension to the story and captivates the audience’s attention throughout. The rest of the cast are excellent support, notably the dynamic between Shiv Rabheru’s Toby and Dean Nolan as the flamboyant Pirelli (with a somewhat dubious Italian accent).
By placing the band amongst the intimate seating and sparse staging, Sondheim’s music perfectly adds to the disturbing tale. The songs themselves are excellently performed by the whole cast whose range is extraordinary. A particular highlight was Joanna’s fantastic rendition of Green Finch and Linnet Bird (performed by Keziah Joseph).
Sweeney Todd is on at the Everyman Theatre until the 18th May and tickets are still available to purchase here.