Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Liverpool Playhouse, 27th April - 1st May 2004
Last night I saw a production worthy of performance in the West End here
in Liverpool. The Watermill Theatre Company put on their version of Stephen
Sondheim's musical thriller, and I have never before seen so much enthusiasm
and hard work put in by a whole group of performers. There was not one
weak link in the chain; each of the nine performers gave their considerable
all in acting, singing and playing of various musical instruments.
On a 'one set' stage - appropriately dark and colourless - the first
half set the scene for the story of one of Britain's most infamous serial
killers (I wonder whether there will ever be a 'Dr. Shipman - The Musical')
Although a sombre tale, there are many moments of humour - particularly
provided by the character of Mrs. Lovett (admirably portrayed by Karen
Mann) - the barber's accomplice in crime.
To herald the bloodletting (cleverly achieved with lighting and props
-Tarantino has nothing to worry about here), the colour red was subtlely
introduced in the second part of the play to great effect. Credit to the
set designers and dressers here. The performers themselves carried out
all prop movements seamlessly while the focus of attention was on the
Though the whole team shone, special mention must go to Paul Hegarty
as Sweeney Todd. His stage presence is awesome, and his voice excellent.
To summarise, if you like musicals, you'll love this. If you don't, go
and see it anyway. You will enjoy it. Highly recommended.