The Arcadians brought a slice of Sondheim to The Crescent last night in their production of Sweeney Todd. This iconic tale is popular amongst many theatre groups and is a prime chance to showcase a wide range of skills, from both the performers and the creative team, as well as the orchestra.
It is a challenging show and from the outset the cast tackled it head on. Simon Burgess instantly made for a menacingly brooding Sweeney Todd, with perfect diction throughout. His strong voice resonated around the auditorium and he exuded a dark charisma, which fitted the role excellently. He was paired well with the delightful Gillian Twaite as Mrs Lovett. She impressed in the role, but at times seemed to lack confidence. However, in the moments where she was entirely lost in her character, it was effortless.
Daniel Guzman and Eleanor Hewer excelled in their respective roles of Anthony Hope and Johanna. Hewer's operatic voice was a joy and matched with the rich, dulcet tones of Guzman they shone together. Equally impressive performances came from the initimidating John Clay as Judge Turpin, his deep, ominous voice was suitably eerie and Michelle Burgess held her own as the Beggar Woman – a huge favourite with the audience.
Another super cameo came from Robert Tilson as Pirelli – he captured the Italian's slimy demeanour brilliantly, all tied up with a fine voice. And Luke Price's Tobias was charming, evoking not only the innocence of his character, but his alarming descent into madness.
The show runs a little long at 3 hours, considering there are opportunities to abridge, but equally it is a great opportunity to showcase the orchestra – under the accomplished direction of Lauren Gilbert. Directed by James and Pam Garrington, the overall production is a treat with a wealth of talent in both the principals and ensemble. Rousing harmonies sent shivers down the spine and it made for a chilling night at the theatre!
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