2011 festival ends with murderous tale

Cast of Sweeney Todd rehearsing for the production at Chichester Festival Theatre from September 24 - November 5. Credit Catherine Ashmore.
Cast of Sweeney Todd rehearsing for the production at Chichester Festival Theatre from September 24 - November 5. Credit Catherine Ashmore.
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Laced with corrupt figures of authority, murderous ventures in the dark, and some suspiciously good tasting pies, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street is being shown at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The final production of their 2011 festival tells the story of two lost souls who decide to make the best of a bad situation.

Running from September 24 – November 5 it stars Imelda Staunton (Up The Garden Path, and Harry Potter series in which she plays Professor Umbridge) as Mrs Lovett, and Laurence Olivier award winning Michael Ball (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Les Miserables, Hairspray) as Sweeney Todd.

Based on Stephen Sonheim’s 1979 stage musical adaption of Christopher Bond’s 1973 production of the same name, Todd is a man driven by revenge.

Once married with a wife and child, Judge Turpin has him arrested on false charges and transported for life to Australia.

15 years later he returns to London, only to find his wife is dead and his daughter is now Turpin’s ward, with no clue who he is.

Todd decides to get his revenge on the world by killing as many people as he can.

It is when he returns to his old barber shop, and meets the struggling pie shop owner, Mrs Lovett, that the pair decide to build a sinister alliance.

The original production opened on Broadway in 1979, and ran for 557 performances.

The production will be the last of the 2011 festival, which has celebrated the life and work of British playwright, Terence Rattigan, in the centenary year of his life. Performances of his plays have included the Deep Blue Sea and The Browning Version.

The season has also included new adaptions of classic musicals, such as Singin’ In The Rain (now nominated for a Guide Award in the Best Professional Production category), She Loves Me, and Sweeney Todd.

Winter productions being held at Chichester Festival Theatre will include The Madness Of George III, Lovesong, Dr Marigold And Mr Chops, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Other cast members in Sweeney Todd are John Boe as Judge Turpin, Lucy May Barker as Johanna, and Peter Polycarpou as Beadle Bamford.

Tickets cost £14 to £28 from Chichester Festival Theatre on (01243) 781 312 or visit cft.org.uk.