For the first time in over 7 years, I was actually in the audience for an RTSA production rather than being on stage. As a member of the group, you never really get the hype about the quality of the shows but after watching the phenomenal Sweeney Todd, those resinating compliments finally make sense!
I’m not at all a fan of dark musicals so having to watch people get their throats slit really didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. But after watching the stellar production, the horror I felt at the prospect of the show was destroyed and my awe at the talent on stage was ever more prominent. Now, Sondheim’s complex score was going to be a challenge for anyone, but the young members of RTSA didn’t seem to struggle at all. With difficult rhythms, quick lyrics and (for want of a better word) an interesting storyline, the show kept the audience on the edge of their seats from curtain up to curtain down.
All the principles were brilliant, with Rob Cannon playing the spooky Judge Turpin absolutely fabulously and Brad Leeks camping up Pirelli to no end, but for me, there were 5 stand out performances of the night. Firstly, Beth Atkin who’s portrayal of the ‘Beggar Woman’ was so realistic, you couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy towards the character. She was incredibly funny at all the right moments and was undoubtedly the perfect person for the part.
Secondly to Isabel Canning who was the most amazing Mrs Lovett! Isabel embodied this part and played it with an incredible amount of conviction. Isabel’s versatile acting abilities enabled her to move from a crazy pie maker, to a woman smitten with Mr Todd throughout the show and her performance quality was second to none.
Daniel Fenwick was outstanding as Tobias and his duet alongside Isabel- ‘Not While I’m Around’- didn’t leave a dry eye in the theatre. It’s was obvious to the audience how much Dan enjoyed this part and his comedy and emotion throughout the show enhanced his performance so much!
Isabella Eagle was simply the perfect Johanna, and after having an incredibly short time to learn the role, she did an immense job. Isabella’s rendition of ‘Green Finch and Linnet Bird’ was a dream to listen to and I was blown away by her vocal abilities!
Finally to the man of the hour, Josh Roberts who played the demon barber himself, Sweeney Todd. The passion that Josh had for this role was incredible and it was almost as if he believed he really was Mr Todd. Josh’s acting was brilliant and he didn’t drop character at all throughout the entirety of the show.
I’m so proud of how the whole of RTSA have pulled together to pull this show off. After the uncertainty as to whether the show would even go on, every single person involved with the show- be it on stage or off- worked and supported one another relentlessly.
Credit must also go to director Dee Bennie-Marshall who’s ideas and concepts are extraordinary and the support she gives the members of RTSA is invaluable. Every person in the show should be incredibly proud of themselves and I would like to thank them all for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
You can next catch RTSA at the civic from 20th-24th of September 2016 where they will perform Peter Pan the Musical and I promise you nothing short of a fabulous night!