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Sweeney Anchor 1

title. Sweeney Todd

company. NYMT / Village Underground, London.

design . Mark Friend  lx design Jonny Milmer   


Looking around the theatrical offerings in London's West End it can sometimes be a bit depressing to see the lack of creativity on offer.  However if the National Youth Music Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd is anything to go by then the future of musical theatre is safe in these young performers hands. Staged in an unusual theatre space the production re-tells one of Sondheim's most known works in a dazzlingly creative and modern way.  The design is minimal, and not so much steam-punk as a thrilling nu-rave style of Victoriana.  The main space of the venue is a vast cavern of a room, with patchy light and minimal dressing it really feels like you are transported to a slice of Victorian London.  The cast themselves are incredibly talented, not just for people of their age and experience, as their performances are easily of professional standard. The only disappointment about this excellent show was that the run is so short so more people wont get a chance to see it.  The next chance you get to see a NYMT production do it. 



There is a lot going on in Sondheim's version and Martin Constantine's production keeps it on the move with pace and precision. The audience enters to a general scene of what could be a London street or indeed a lunatic asylum as the cast move around muttering, shouting and filling the air with piercing, bloodcurdling screams. As the piece gets underway it is played continuously, moving from one scene to another with seamless fluidity, as Todd returns to London from prison in Australia, to pick up the pieces of his lost life. NYMT grabs every opportunity to both excite and amuse. It is a company show and it fields so much young talent that, once the music starts, they never put a foot wrong and runs like a superbly crafted timepiece, no hitches, no glitches, nothing but superbly confident acting, singing and movement especially the latter which in a vast cave like this would show up any discrepancies. The big production numbers such as The Worst Pies in London, Pirelli's Miracle Elixir, A Little Priest, God, Thats Good! and City of Fire are all handled miraculously. All in all, its one of the best productions I have seen of Sondheim's masterpiece and I have seen most of them.


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