July 2, 2021

Sweeny Todd

You may recognise the name from the 2007 film starring problematic actor/potential abuser Johnny Depp but you may not realise before that it was a musical by legendary Stephen Sondheim (and before that a play and before that a book and possibly before that an urban legend). So, the musical came first, at least before the movie. You have the privilege to see it staged in all its glory, in Wellington, by Witch Music Theatre.

Fair warning, this show is dark. There are content warnings posted on the website and outside the theatre. It was much darker than I remembered from the movie and that thing was made by Tim Burton who specialises in dark (and also casts Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in everything). 

Many productions these days forgo stage blood for ease of cleaning the set and costumes and to avoid upsetting the audience. I'm happy to report there is a little blood in this show, its used sparingly but to excellent effect. There is one bit...but I can't spoil it. You'll know it when you see it. I gasped.

The stage is small, made smaller by the need to accommodate an orchestra. Interestingly the conductor was also a performer, managing to conduct mostly with his head. The music was very well choreographed with the action on stage with a little hiccup when people were banging out of synch...and once reminding a performer which verse to sing. 

All around there was talent, singing, acting, sadly no dancing. The actor who played the little boy perhaps being the best. The sound of the combined voices was something beautiful. I did recognise one of the actors from Circa (always lovely to see a familiar face), I look forward to following his career as it progresses.

I recommend taking someone who doesn't know the story at all and watching as they realise what is unfolding on stage. A certain amount of impact is lost when you know what's going to happen, but still I found this more horrifying than I remembered. 

No comments:

Post a Comment