We asked each of our reviewers to nominate their favourite show of 2015. Danny Coleman-Cooke was quick with his reponse – Sweeney Todd by Tooting Arts Club with Jeremy Secomb and Sionhan McCarthy. Sweeney Todd was a spell-binding production that remained in my head for days afterwards. An eerie and perfectly chosen venue combined with a first-class cast and some highly intelligent staging. The most intimate and engaging production I’ve ever seen that rightly got a standing ovation afterwards. It was so good that even Sondheim gave it rave reviews! The show was transferred to a recreation of Harrington’s Pie And Mash Shop on Shaftesbury Avenue with the help of Cameron Mackintosh. See choices from Tim Hochstrasser and Douglas Mayo
Bricusse’s output is so prodigious and so tuneful that only the tone deaf would not find lots of numbers here satisfying and delicious. Many will find something to enjoy in every song, and certainly Musical Director, Michael England, does a terrific job accompanying the singers with a six piece band (including England on piano) that does real justice to England’s arrangements. As ever, there could have been more strings to swell the underscoring, but that is a small quibble.
Danielle Tarento has today announced casting for Pure Imagination, a review celebrating the songs of Leslie Bricusse, one of the most extraordinary musical theatre and film songwriters of our time. Leslie Briscusse was one of the world’s most prolific songwriters writing over 1000 songs in collaboration with some of the world’s most celebrated writers including Anthony Newley, Henry Mancini, John Williams and John Barry. His shows and movies achieved iconic status including Stop the World – I Want to Get Off; The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd; Pickwick; Harvey; The Good Old Bad Old Days; Goodbye Mr Chips; Henry’s Wives; Scrooge; Sherlock Holmes; Jekyll and Hyde; Noah’s Ark; Sammy; Cyrano de Bergerac Kennedy; Victor/Victoria and It’s a Dog’s Life! and the film score for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Doctor Doolittle. During his career he amassed nominations for 10 Oscars, nine Grammys and … Read more
Eschewing grandeur and wisely opting to follow that sensible motto, Less Is More, this transfer of the Tooting Arts Club production of late 2014 is a complete triumph in every way. It takes you by the throat and clasps you firmly in its thrall for its entire duration. It is shockingly powerful, brutally honest, raw and rich at the same time. A cast of eight, a band of three, clever but simple lighting, the potent power of blood and candles, economy in every department, a dedication to the text and the score: these are the ingredients of this absolute success.
London is awash with productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the moment. Perhaps one of the most interesting is taking place at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting, South London. This site-specific production by Tooting Arts Club will see audiences congregate at Anton’s barber shop before being shown to Harrington’s, where the decor, little changed since it was opened in 1908, will provide the setting for Mrs Lovett’s infamous establishment. Mrs Lovett will be played by Siobhan McCarthy who was Olivier nominated as the original Donna in Mamma Mia!, and is also known for playing Roisin Connor in ITV’s Bad Girls. Siobhan will be joined by Jeremy Secomb as Sweeney. Jeremy’s West End Credits include The Phantom Of the Opera and Priscilla. Other casting includes David Freeman as Judge Turpin, Ian Mowatt as Beadle Bamford, Kiara Jay as Pirelli/Beggar Woman, Nadim Naaman as Anthony Hope, Grace Chapman as … Read more