Slice of morbid musical theatre
9:17am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
Sweeney Todd SALOS Wyvern Theatre
Swindon Amateur Light Operatic Society made a bold choice when they chose Sweeney Todd for their latest production at the Wyvern Theatre this week.
However, in the hands of director Russell Langdown, it proved to be a good one.
James Canning epitomised the barbaric, barber, Sweeney Todd, who takes his killing revenge on those people who imprisoned him and then with the aid of the wonderful Mrs Lovett, played by Alison Canning, stuffs them into pies.
James is so right for this part. Looks, voice and acting ability are never wanting. He drew me in with ease almost as soon as he arrived on stage. And that was soon. A stunning portrayal all round.
Alison takes on the role of pie maker and had perfect timing for the comedy lines delivered and the difficult lyrics sung. This husband and wife team must have had great fun and spent so much time rehearsing at home together.
The lighter side to the parts were crafted beautifully. As were the more sinister in each of their roles. They were rehearsed and played almost to perfection.
Robert Felstead, who played Anthony Hope, has a lovely musical theatre voice and will I’m sure be a huge asset to the company, this being his debut with SALOS. His love interest, Johanna, was beautifully played by Lizzy Webb, her voice soaring up through the rafters. Simon Roberts and Stuart Dark played their roles as only they can, with gusto and panache and a certain amount of darkness from Simon.
Sometimes a small character part in a production can leave you remembering it. Carol Jeffcutt played the Beggar Woman very well indeed. I’m sure a lot of the audience will feel the same.
Mark Newton, as Adolfo, entered into his character along with the young Tobias, who was played admirably by Ethan Hughs on this first night. At 13, Ethan was certainly up there with the others. There are no weak links in this production.
The musical score, by Stephen Sondheim, a challenging task by any means, was executed by a well rehearsed orchestra under the direction of Malcolm Webb. Chorus numbers, although few and very different from your feelgood factor musical, were sung superbly and cleverly used by the director to give full effect.
This storyline is one that you don’t expect to be an engaging, lively musical. And it’s not. However, director Russ and his cast managed to draw us all into the plot from the outset. Well they did me anyway. At times you could have heard a pin drop in the theatre. Which on this first night wasn’t full.
The marvellous set, props, lighting, costumes and sound made this one of those nights that I will remember for the sheer daring of a company to choose such a musical and ultimately pull it off with style.
Whether it’s to every ones cup of tea or not – well you won’t know unless you go and see it.
A word of warning though. There is an age appropriateness of 12 years. – Ros Hollands
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