Thursday, 23 October 2014

SWEENEY TODD by Nottingham Medics
Nottingham Arts Theatre

If you take on a Sondheim musical you need to fully commit and throw every thing you've got into it, and that is what we have in this production, and this was echoed by the full auditorium with the largest and loudest roar I have heard from an audience for a very long time.

They said that they realised it was a challenge but boy did they rise to the challenge, grabbed it by the throat and ran with it.

"Sweeney Todd" as we all know is the story of the barber who went away and then returned to reap his revenge on Judge Turpin who had sentenced him, took in his daughter and sent his wife crazy, Todd slicing the throats of innocent victims along the way.

A large cast which worked so well together that when in their groups did not seem as large as they were due to the blending and working so close with their neighbour, a seamless group of professionalism.

The music, well it is Sondheim, is not the easiest to get your vocal chords around with their intricate key changes and lyrics, clever as they are, but this talented group of medical students just seemed to master it with ease, I know that this won't have been the case but the end product created that image.

And what a brilliant group of musicians under the musical direction of Oliver McCallion. They created a very professional sound, well complemented by the main vocalists. OK maybe not everyone had the best voices and there were just a few bum notes but you know what, that didn't matter because of the massive entertainment value.

Whoever opted for the job in charge of casting wants a medal because the casting was absolutely spot on. "Todd" was brilliantly played with just the right level of menace and malice by Chris Hatchcroft, and what a great musical theatre voice he has, Surprisingly this is his first ever musical, well I hope that it won't be his last.

Mrs Lovett, the pie maker extraordinaire, was played by Fiona Wells, both Chris and Fiona headlining a wonderful and talented cast. Another smooth voice belonged to John Wardlaw as Anthony, the sailor who fell in love with Todd's daughter, Johanna, and rescued her from the asylum. What a beautiful rendition of "Johanna" which had the audience applauding before the music had ended.

Not one bad performer on show here and if the medical side of their intended professions go awry, I feel that they all could branch out into theatre.

In conclusion, this is up there with the other "Sweeney Todd"s that I have seen and you will not be disappointed with this group. If the tickets sell as well as they have done for opening night, well you better get them fast because the rest of the shows could well be a sell out.

"Sweeney Todd" is being performed at the Nottingham Arts Theatre until Saturday 25 October 2014.

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