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Posts Tagged ‘Genevieve Kingsford’

Well, that’s a theatrical first. I had to wash all my clothes when I got home from this. Twickenham Theatre’s theatrical blood budget is very generous, David Badella is a very keen throat-slitter and I was on the front row! Had I not enjoyed the show so much, I might have been inclined to send them a cleaning bill.

I never tire of this show (just as well as this is the first of four in the next twelve months). I’ve seen it staged in spaces from 50 to 2000, by opera companies and amateurs, in converted victorian swimming pools and underground night clubs. This is a room above a pub, one of the smallest but also one of the best productions – and certainly the bloodiest. Given the space available it’s nothing short of miraculous and a great tribute to its director Derek Anderson, making his professional directing debut. Rachel Stone’s design used the limited space behind and below brilliantly, even managing a moving chair, oven and a grave (this was a great idea for the prologue). The cast often occupied parts of the auditorium close to the stage and this was very effective.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the story of the barber, deported but now returned, whose revenge gets out of hand as he slits the throats of virtually everyone who sits in his chair, providing meat for Mrs Lovett’s pies. Here it’s perfectly well told with a cast of just nine who are also the chorus. I thought it was a particularly well sung Sweeney, happily without need of amplification in this space. David Badella’s rich bass-baritone did full justice to Sweeney’s songs and Sarah Ingram squeezed every ounce of humour from Sondheim’s brilliant lyrics for Mrs Lovett – and they were terrific together. Casting Director Anne Vosser has put together a superb supporting cast of veterans and newcomers, including an impressive professional debut from Genevieve Kingsford as Johanna and an equally impressive performance from newcomer Josh Tevendale as Anthony, without a weak link in it.

This is Twickenham Theatre’s first show; what a sensational start. They’ve set the bar high for themselves and for the coming Sweeney’s. Gold stars all round.

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