Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street has become synonymous with Stephen Sondheim’s musical opera of the same name, and has received critical acclaim globally both for its staged versions and on-screen outing featuring
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter. However, Sondheim’s musical was not an original work. Fascinated by a small London theatre production version of the old penny dreadful, Sondheim was inspired to write the musical. The play version he saw was the first re-telling of the Victorian horror story which actually gave Sweeney Todd a purpose and signified reason to become the Demon Barber (the rape and death of his wife following his false transportation). This production was written by CG Bond and is the production our Company performed.
This is, first and foremost, a melodrama. Heightened realism with fantastical outcomes rooted in human stories. The style adopted for our version enabled the cast to create the fantastical world Sweeney and his deviant sidekick, Mrs Lovett, occupies through a dynamic and transformative use of stagecraft. Throughout the production there was an almost perpetual underscore to heighten emotional sensibility and support the unfolding narrative – the soundtrack/score and additional foley all became intrinsic characters themselves.
The cast worked incredibly hard over just 50 hours to bring about the production – and they were all deeply and intrinsically involved in every aspect of the storytelling.