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Sweeney Todd transfers to West End

Sweeney Todd

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IT HAS been confirmed that the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd will transfer to he West End – to the Adelphi Theatre where it begins performances on March 10, 2012.

The production, which completes its run at Chichester this evening (November 5, 2011), stars Michael Ball as the ‘Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and Imelda Staunton as Mrs Lovett.

Sondheim’s compelling musical of corruption and revenge, commonly acknowledged as his masterpiece, combines Grand Guignol with the English music hall and is a fascinating portrait of a man driven to madness by injustice and grief.

Laced with characteristically brilliant wit and dark humour, it tells of Sweeney Todd’s return to London after years of false imprisonment, and his savage quest for justice and retribution. Aided and abetted by the pie-shop owner, Mrs Lovett, he sets out to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family many years before.

Michael Ball made his West End debut in 1985 when he originated the role of Marius in Les Miserables. This was followed by The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, Passion, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Woman in White and, most recently, Hairspray in which he originated the cross-dressing role of Edna Turnblad in the show’s UK premiere.

Imelda Staunton has won two Olivier Awards – for roles in two 1985 productions, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Corn Is Green, and for the 1991 Into the Woods. Her other stage credits include Calico, Life x 3, Guys and Dolls, Uncle Vanya, There Came A Gypsy Riding and Entertaining Mr Sloane.

She is also well known for her screen roles – in films such as Vera Drake (for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Bright Young Things, Peter’s Friends and Shakespeare in Love.

The Chichester cast also includes Lucy May Barker (as Johanna), Peter Polycarpou (Beadle Bamford), John Bowe (Judge Turpin), Luke Brady (Anthony), Robert Burt (Pirelli), Gillian Kirkpatrick (Beggar Woman) and James McConville (Tobias). Jonathan Kent directs.

Stephen Sondheim’s other musicals include Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George and Passion.

Read our Chichester review

Sweeney Todd follows Nicholas Hytner’s production of One Man, Two Guvnors, which runs at the Adelphi Theatre until February 25, 2012.