Sweeney Todd: Short run Melbourne show 20-23 June

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Run time:  132 minutes including intermission

There are distracting technical aspects to the Sydney production that affected the full impact of the  show but in saying that the assembly of a high profile cast and revival of a forty year old musical score that is arguably still unmatched by modern theatre is worth the time.  The creative liberties taken in the script add a nice local touch with the insertion of Sweeney Todd’s backstory that sets him on a course of revenge.

Essentially the space is a lecture hall with no soundproofing during the 9pm Darling Harbour fireworks.  The margins of the stage incorporate the orchestra pit and at times Gina Riley is out of sync in her delivery of Sondheim’s complex lyrical tongue twisters.  Anthony Warlow who almost didn’t take the role, which many Phantom fans would assume is right up his alley naturally commands the stage.  He shares great chemistry with Gina Riley as his comedic sidekick and offsider.

The powerhouse of headlining names is completed with Debra Byrne’s supporting role as the begger lady, industry heavyweight Michael  Falzon and bass baritone, Daniel Sumegi.  Vocal prowess in this production is flawless.

There would definitely be disappointment for those who may have purchased the premium tickets sold for over $200, however as a dressed down, live entertainment / concert performance, there are enough moments to enjoy throughout the course of both acts if not just to immerse yourself in the sweet orchestral mastery that fails to stale after four decades.

All nitpicking aside, the continuing Melbourne tour at Her Majesty’s Theatre, home of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Shrek is an old pro when it comes to bringing out the best in Broadway and am confident their rendition of opening night will see a more compelling show at full potential.


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