Fabulously dark and funny, this production of Sweeney Todd is truly a triumph for the Halifax Amateur Operatic Society, writes Sandra Rout.
The musical that places meat pies centre stage and puts horsemeat in a better light is a challenging choice, but HAOS clearly revels in the task; the cast is faultless, the staging spectacular and the music glorious.
Chris Madej resonates as Sweeney Todd and Nikki Hellens as the pragmatic and almost warm hearted Mrs Lovett is outstanding. Singing with gusto and a rolling pin she necessarily lightens this black and fiendishly gruesome tale of lost love, murder and pastries and is rewarded with roars of laughter from the audience in her comic numbers.
The flamboyance of Adolfo Pirelli, played by Lee Cannon also brings colour and light in contrast to the menacing and repulsive arch villain Judge Turpin, masterfully characterised by Stephen Jamieson.
The inventive staging banishes curtains, turning instead to fluid sets on wheels. The cast dealt with some minor first night prop and technical malfunctions with professionalism and there was faultless support from the company of factory workers who seamlessly moved around the atmospheric stage and surrounding scaffolding.
The demon barber will be wielding his razor until Saturday night and I wholeheartedly recommend that you buy tickets – that is, if you don’t have trouble sleeping at night…