Sweeney Todd

August 20, 2017 | By | Reply More

★★★★☆   Bloodily brilliant

Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre (Venue 76): Wed 16 – Sun 27th August
Review by Sarah Moyes

The dark streets of Victorian London come to life in this thrilling production of Sweeney Todd by Captivate Theatre.

It’s been almost forty years since Sweeney Todd made its debut on Broadway and ten years since the film adaption came out, but this local production could easily give both a run for their money.

Hazel Beattie and Darren Coutts. Pic: Captivate

The tale of the demon barber is a well-known one. Set in Fleet Street in Victorian London, this dark musical tells the story of Sweeney Todd, a barber who returns to the city having being exiled fifteen years earlier for a crime he didn’t commit. He takes up residence above Mrs Lovett’s pie shop where Todd starts killing people who Mrs Lovett then bakes in her pies.

The company opens the show with a stunning performance of The Ballad of Sweeney Todd which sets the bar for the calibre of performance that Captivate Theatre brings to the production.

Darren Coutts is excellent as Sweeney Todd, a troubled man back to seek his revenge. Not only was he wrongly banished from London, but he has since discovered that his wife has poisoned herself and  his daughter Johanna is being held captive by the corrupt judge who sent him away.

Hazel Beattie as Mrs Lovett is the perfect partner in crime for Sweeney. While Coutts plays a dark and twisted Todd, Beattie brings humour to the role of Mrs Lovett, a woman who yearns for the affection of the demon barber himself.

Great performances

There are some other great performances among the cast including Rosie Graham as Johanna and Sam Selbie as Antony, the young sailor who rescues Todd and brings him back to London. Selbie gives a brilliant performance of Johanna, allowing him to really show off his vocals, while Graham’s version of Green Finch and Linnet Bird is just beautiful.



Anyone who is a musical theatre fan will know how incredible the work of Stephen Sondheim is. His songs, especially in Sweeney Todd, are some of the most loved and Captivate Theatre really do them justice, particularly when the cast all come together.

The Rose Theatre is a small space for a big musical, but its intimacy allows for the cast to enter and leave through the audience making you feel very much part of the show. The staging is simple with merely a few wooden boxes for the set which are moved around to become doors, walls and chairs, and of course, there’s the famous barber’s chair taking centre stage.

Gerron Stewart’s simple yet very effective lighting design transforms the venue with mood lighting for the back streets of London – and blood red lights to mark each murder.

At two hours without interval, the show is quite long and the conditions inside the Rose Theatre are almost sauna-like. Despite these potential setbacks, this production of Sweeney Todd is still utterly fantastic.

Running times: 2 hours (no interval)
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre (venue 76), 204 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ
Wed 16 – Sun 27 August 2017
Daily, 4.45pm
Find tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sweeney-todd

Company website: http://www.captivatetheatre.com
Facebook: captivatetheatre
Twitter: @Captivate_LTD

The cast of Sweeney Todd. Pic: Captivate

ENDS

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