Friday 8 February 2013

Sweeney Todd at Norwich Theatre Royal

On the evening of Wednesday 6th February 2013 I attended the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society's performance of Sweeney Todd at Norwich Theatre Royal. Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical thriller came to the Theatre Royal in a double first. It was the first large-scale production of the musical at the Theatre Royal and Ray Jeffery’s award winning production was the first Sondheim musical to be produced by the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society.

Often regarded as Sondheim’s masterpiece of musical theatre, this musical thriller, first produced on Broadway in 1979, tells the story of Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years' transportation on trumped-up charges. He seeks vengeance against his accusers, teams up with a piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop above her pie shop. The one thing different about Todd’s barbershop, however, is that no one who walks in for a shave is ever seen again.

Our suspense was held throughout as the 23 piece live orchestra played the magnificent score while on stage the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society brought us Sondheim's comic turns and love songs which made this a night to remember. The show moved and thrilled us as The Demon Barber of Fleet Street who first appeared as a Victorian penny dreadful comic story ensured we will be thinking twice before going to the barber's in the near future.

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