News Column

CAN THEY CUT IT? ; Director pleased with Sweeney Todd progress

June 27, 2013


Amateur thespians are being weaned off their scripts and song sheets with five weeks to go until the opening of community musical Sweeney Todd.

The cast, which was whittled down from more than 500 auditionees to 60, will now start to concentrate on the next phase of rehearsals as director Paul Kerryson takes them through stage direction.

The Stephen Sondheim musical will premiere on J1uly 30 and run until August 11.

Paul said: We've got five weeks to go and most people are 'off- book', which means they know the songs and lines without having to have them in front of them.

I say most of them, there are still those who are hanging on to their books, but we'll wean them off very soon.

It's what I expect of performers at this stage - we need to start focussing on stage direction and working on performances. The show is part of Curve's community theatre project, which is in its third year and follows the sellout success of previous productions of Oliver! and West Side Story. Performer Chris Smith, 24, who is playing the role of Anthony in the show, said he was excited about the opening night, but there was still a lot of work to do.

He said: It's quite nerve-wracking when you put the scripts down because you're used to having it in front of you, but it's only after you put the script down that you truly develop. When I first saw how many people were in the auditions I thought 'oh gosh' - but I was offered a lead part.

I think the community shows are a fantastic way of getting you into an amazing theatre.

The show tells the story of 19th century barber Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who sets out on a murderous quest for justice and retribution, aided by pie-shop owner Mrs Lovett.

In 2007, the stage musical was adapted for the big screen by director Tim Burton, who cast Johnny Depp in the lead role. Paul said: The music in the film was pretty flat and not very animated, but then it could be because of all the amazing special effects and sets. In theatre, it has to be much more thrilling - and they're going to have to perform it eight times a week, so they're going to have to be on top of their game.

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