Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd
Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Book: Hugh Wheeler. Ignations Musical Society. Director: John Peek. Musical Director: Edgar Chan & Ben Murray. Choreography: Lauren Ware. Schonell Theatre, Brisbane. March 22 – April 13, 2012.

Stephen Sondheim’s grisly, gothic thriller Sweeney Todd was given a classy production by Ignatians, with standout performances by Miranda Selwood and James Gauci. Selwood’s tour-de-force as the needy and manipulative Mrs Lovett was outstanding. Her delivery of the role’s iconic comic numbers, particularly, “The Worst Pies In London”, was masterful. Gauci’s Anthony also could not be faulted. He was born to sing Sondheim and sing it he did. His “Johanna” was a joy. Both performances were razor-sharp, unlike Joshua Rowe’s Sweeney Todd who, despite a moving finale, was not up to the acting demands of the role. His Australian accent did not help. Sarah Jensen was a spine-chillingly effective Lucy, with good performances also coming from Ben Hickey (Tobias), Jordana Peek (Johanna), and Andrew Scheiwe (Pirelli). Shane Rodwell’s set was appropriately foreboding and dark, Caro Lakos’ costumes appropriately ragged and grimy, with Andrew ‘Panda’ Haden’s lighting and Gabby Gregory’s sound adding to the macabre atmosphere. The orchestra, under the direction of Edgar Chan and Ben Murray, handled Sondheim’s dissonant score well, and high praise must go to the ensemble whose work at times was thrilling.

Peter Pinne

Image:James Gauci, Jordanna Peek and Chris Kellett.

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