Friday, 11 May 2012
SWEENEY TODD (Adelphi Theatre) April 2012
I'd seen the film and loved it but I was a little apprehensive about what to expect as I walked along The Strand towards the Adelphi Theatre. As a great lover of the cheesy, high energy, dance filed, jazz-hands-at-every-second musicals this was to be a bit of a different venture.
We managed to secure great seats in the stalls, in the centre of row N. The stalls at the Adelphi hasn't got the greatest incline so I did find the head of the person in front very much an obstacle. He was a large American man who throughout the pre-show repeatedly expressed his excitement about seeing "the lady Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher from Harry Potter".
The pre-show was great. A lot more interesting than a curtain baring the show's logo. The actors took their time to come onto stage and began cleaning things and setting up for the show. This as a great opportunity to admire Anthony Ward's enormous set before any of the main action distracted you away from it. The set takes inspiration from an abandoned factory which returns to life as the working class ensemble invite you to attend the tale.
This was my first time of seeing Michael Ball in any role. A far cry from Hairspray's Edna Turnblad he was spectacularly haunting in the title role. His take on Sweeney Todd was chilling and captivating as he managed Sweeney's transformation from a grieving traveller to demonic killer.
Imelda Staunton managed well to provide the grim tale with much-needed light humour. Her portrayal strangely manages to draw sympathy from the audience to a character who lovestruck with a killer, bakes the victims in pies.
Other performances worthy of note are Lucy May Barker's portrayal of Johanna - she did the absolute best she could with a character of little attention as did Luke Brady with the smitten Anthony. James McConville succeeded in bringing the innocence to Tobias, you wanted to pluck him from the stage and get him as far away from the dangers of Fleet Street.
The pies may be the worst in London, but the show is definitely one of the best. If it's a shave you're after, I'd go elsewhere, otherwise this is definitely a worthwhile visit.
Performances until 22nd September. Monday - Saturday 7:30pm, Wednesday & Saturday 2:30pm.
Tickets: £67.50, £55, £37.50, £25, £20. (Dayseats available at £25 on the day of performance at the box office.)