The New Theatre is ending its 2014 season on a high. This was a truly great production. I came out thinking what am I going to say in my review, as I am sure I am going to run out of favourable adjectives!
If you have never seen Sweeney Todd before it is pretty gruesome. Sweeney Todd has returned to London and wants revenge on a judge. The Judge that became the ward for his daughter when he sent Sweeney to Australia; for a crime he didn't commit. He also can't forgive him for his wife's death. Sweeney, a Barber by trade, plots to lure the judge to him for a shave and then cut his throat. Trouble is Sweeney is rather fond of cutting throats and does this on numerous occasions dropping the bodies below to Mrs Lovett's pie shop, where she swiftly makes them into pies! Johanna Sweeney's daughter is being held captive by the judge who has fallen in love with her and is jealous of any man who dares even look at her. He is so worried about loosing her, when he finds out she has fallen in love with another man, he sends her to an asylum. The whole mood for Sweeney Todd is dark, dirty and macabre. The music is eerie, filled with dissonance and soulful tunes.
Justin Cotta played Sweeney Todd/ Benjamin Barker, he made it his own menacing character, slightly mad and fuelled with revenge. Lucy Miller played Mrs Lovett and again she held the audience as she too fought the demons within, to hold onto her new found love. Tobias Ragg played by Aimee Timmins was fantastic, the naive young boy just trying to get by in a world full of beggars, thieves and swindlers. Tobias is a lost soul and you can't help but hope that everything ends well for him.
It was a very slick production, with minimal moving staging to make the different scenes. The dim lighting and of course the music all set the scene. The costumes were very good. The gun and mini keyboard were not so good as props but they are the only negative I can come up with! The use of the red material to symbolise the blood did raise a few giggles but once the audience realised this was just a symbolic gesture it was soon accepted.
This has been a very popular production and plays until 20 December so I recommend to book your tickets now before all the shows sell out - www.newtheatre.org.au
Credit: Photo © Bob Seary