Sweeney Todd, Lyceum, 15 March '11
‘Sweeney Todd’ has been within the public conscience since Tim Burton’s film immortalised the tale of the demonic barber.
On stage, it’s not been a commercial success, because it’s a bloody (excuse the pun) difficult production. The music is extremely complicated, the props cumbersome and expensive - but, amateur theatre company Croft House put on a lively and engaging show, a real credit to the group.
Special mention must go to Josh Coburn (Anthony) for his fantastic singing: a true natural on the stage.
Leah Rhodes’ turn as the Beggar Woman was also striking. Her shrill vocals and manic energy were chilling; she certainly provided the tragic touch the show demands.
However, Martin Peacock’s performance in the title role was too languid. He was clearly aiming to capture Sweeney Todd’s brooding darkness , but his singular expression and stiff physicality failed to do this.
Luckily, his energetic sidekick Mrs Lovett, the lovely Judi Johnson-Hart, helped offset this staidness. The chorus numbers were wonderful, too; every performer really gave their all.
On the whole, I have nothing but praise for Croft House. ‘Sweeney Todd’ is a tough challenge, and one they met with vigour, verve - and plenty of fake blood.