Those of you who ever had minds … that is to say, those of you who had minds you could cast back as far, may remember this:
Take full note, because what you will experience in this production from the Stephen Sondheim script is exactly … nothing much like it.
True, it has a barber full of cutting remarks, several close shaves, and a sweetheart who makes utterly scrumptious pies down below. But in this version of the story they have Motive added to Means and Opportunity. The plot thickens until it almost solidifies. Surprises, shocks and revelations abound. Scenes filled with drama can end with something completely banal, such as when, after a particularly impassioned outburst from Sweeny, Mrs Lovett says in a casual tone, ‘That’s all very well, but …’ Instead of breaking the mood, such insertions add to the total experience.
This show has drama, horror, menace, comedy, spectacle, romance, plot twists, good songs well sung, an excellent set of costumes and props, a misleadingly simple set which reveals itself to be extraordinarily complex in its capabilities, and not a single weak link in the acting I was able to detect.
The rapturous standing ovation and curtain call came as no surprise. Nor did hearing one of the East Coast Radio personalities who attended the same performance describe it this afternoon as, ‘Fantastic’ and ‘West-end’. The latter wasn’t really accurate, actually, as Fleet Street is fifteen minutes’ walk from there.