Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of…York?

by Handy Mag
Published: Last Updated on

Following their recent successes of Oliver! and Evita, York Light Opera Company return to York Theatre Royal for a very special 70th-year performance of the multi-award-winning Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with Director Martyn Knight and Musical Director Paul Laidlaw at the helm.

Sweeney Todd is the unsettling, witty tale of a Georgian-era misanthropic barber who returns home to London after fifteen years of exile to seek vengeance on the corrupt Judge who ruined his life. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs Lovett, the resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up to taste them!

Neil Wood portrays the maniacal Sweeney Todd with passion and vigour and Julie-Anne Smith brings Mrs Lovett’s wit to life. Other cast members include Madeleine Hicks as Johanna, Maximus Mawle as Anthony Hope, prolific York Lighter Rory Mulvihill as Judge Turpin, Richard Bayton as Beadle Bamford, Jonny Holbek as Tobias Ragg, Clare Meadley as Beggar Woman and Martin Lay as Adolfo Pirelli.

Noted as composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s most perfect score – with highlights including The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, Not While I’m Around, A Little Priest and Green Finch and Linnet Bird – Sweeney Todd is a tasty, thrilling, theatrical masterpiece which is sure to both excite and delight audiences.

Book your tickets now at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or call box office 01904 623568.

An amateur production by arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Get to know your Sweeney Todd (Neil Wood) and Mrs Lovett (Julie-Anne Smith):

What are you looking forward to most with Sweeney Todd?

Neil: It is a part I have dreamed of playing since I saw the second years at my Drama School perform it in 1987. I cannot wait for the technical rehearsal and get my hands on the razors and Sweeney’s iconic chair!!

How do you prepare for the role of Mrs Lovett?

Julie-Anne: Starting with my character’s interactions with others via the script dictates my interpretation and physicality. Research into the period and past performances also helps.

Describe your character in three words.

Neil: Wronged. Passionate. Maniacal.
Julie-Anne: Bonkers. Opportunistic. Ruthless.

Which is your favourite musical number from the show?

Neil: Funnily enough it’s one that I don’t sing. The quartet (Kiss Me Part II) between the Judge, Beadle, Anthony and Johanna is an incredible piece of music and a real challenge to those characters but when it comes together it’s brilliant!!
Julie-Anne: ‘Johanna’, Anthony’s love song.

What’s your favourite pie filling?

Neil: Oh, a traditional pork pie any day but served with piccalilli!
Julie-Anne: A good old steak and ale.

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