STEPHEN SONDHEIM’s thrilling musical masterpiece, Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street returns to the Mother City this March, in an unforgettable intimate and immersive production presented by Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer and Tally Ho! Productions at Kalk Bay’s historic Olympia Bakery.
Sondheim stated that he envisaged Sweeney Todd as a chamber piece where actors could comingle with the audience in an environment that blurs the divide between actors and audience. He described his vision as follows: “Smoke, some streetlamps, fog rising from the floor, and somebody would pop up beside you and scare you half to death.”
In keeping with this sentiment, this production features a star-studded ensemble of eight actors playing all the parts in a visually striking production that takes place in and around the audience in the historic bakery. Marcel Meyer (Contested Bodies, Hamlet) leads the ensemble as the brooding barber, with Zoë McLaughlin (Educating Rita, The Last Five Years) as Mrs Lovett, his pie-baking partner in crime. Graham Bourne (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) takes the part of the villainous Judge Turpin, while Paul Griffiths (Fiddler On The Roof, Mame) plays the Judge’s loyal but morally bankrupt lackey, the Beadle Bamford. Jeani Heyns doubles in the highly contrasting roles of the forlorn Beggar Woman and the haughty Italian barber, Aldolfo Pirelli. Thinus Viljoen (Peter Pan, Hamlet) plays the kindly but simple-minded youth, Tobias. Sensational newcomers, William Young and Zoë Gray, round-off the cast as the young romantic lovers, Anthony and Johanna. Multi-award-winning Fred Abrahamse directs, while Maestro Jaco Griessel musically directs and accompanies the production from his piano, conjuring up the ambiance of the lone pianist at the Picture Palace a century ago.
Sweeney Todd runs at the Olympia Bakery from 1 – 24 March. Performances commence at 8pm,Wednesdays to Saturdays with selected Sunday performances. The Olympia Café is open from 5.30pm for patrons wishing to have dinner before the performance. A nice pie, perhaps.
Because of the immersive nature of the production, seating is extremely limited, and booking is essential. Tickets are R380 and can be purchased online through Quicket.