PERFORMANCES A CUT ABOVE
Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Society’s ambitious attempt at Sweeney Todd pays off
BY WILL HOOPER
SWEENEY Todd is a theatrical masterpiece written by a theatrical master.
It is the often told tale of cut-throat razors and hot pies, with dubious fillings. Stephen Sondheim’s musical version, first staged in 1979, pushes the drama up several notches, and hopefully will continue to be performed as long as theatres exist.
This was an ambitious choice for Colchester Operatic Society, branching into the Sondheim repertoire for the first time.
But musical director Neil Somerville was equal to his task, his orchestra creating a strong accompaniment that drove the show forward at a rate of knots. Director Dani Fincham used traditional set and costumes, as well as a gauze curtain, and varied lighting with sinister shadows, to help create a fitting atmosphere.
As the barber bent on revenge, Mark Fincham acted and sang with conviction, and coped with the mechanics of the accursed barber’s chair with composure.
Melanie Greaney, as his youthful, pie-making partner in crime, created a fun, colourful character, and visibly grew in confidence as the evening progressed.
While Shane King and Hannah Shayle-Kennedy gave strong, honest and moving performances as Anthony and Johanna.
Last, but by no means least, Caroline Fritz displayed her range as the beggar woman, and Graham Bowden put in an amusing cameo as Pirelli.