Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s latest production is Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
“Sweeney Todd is a musical that premiered in 1979” says director Brian Richmond. “It’s considered to be Steven Sondheim’s masterpiece. It’s just an amazing piece of musical theatre.”
And Blue Bridge has created their own take on the popular musical.
“First of all,” says Richmond, “We’re doing it with an ensemble of 10 actor-singers, and with two musicians. So we’re doing a chamber version of the musical. And we’ve decided to set it in an arts therapy class for the morally deranged. It’s a little bit of a premise that allows us to have a lot of fun with paints, and shadows, and create a new visual approach to the show.”
The ensemble cast is enjoying the challenge.
“We’ve got a really strong company” says Shauna Baird, who plays the role of “Mrs Lovett,” “and they’ve worked hard. With only two and a half weeks rehearsal, they’ve done a stellar job!”
“I always say to young actors,” Baird explains “that Steven Sondheim is to the musical performer what Shakespeare is to the classical performer. It’s really dense material that you have to study hard, you’ve got to get your teeth into it. Complicated rhythms, difficult timings and key changes, and incredibly dense lyrics. It’s a joy to work on, but it’s dense!”
“The music is just phenomenal,” says Richmond “but it’s not the tunes that this show so amazing. It’s the marriage of dialogue and character to music that is just phenomenally skillful.”
Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street runs until August 12 at the Roxy Theatre on Quadra Street in Victoria.