REVIEW: Sweeney Todd at Hayling Community Centre

CBBC Presenter Michael Absalom  visits You're a Star Theatre School

Theatre school visited by CBBC presenter

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Let us not pretend that Hayling Musical Society’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd was perfect, but praise where praise is due.

They tackled Sondheim’s labyrinthine score with gusto and – for the most part – skill.

Sweeney hinges on whether you have a good pair of leads. And [director] Dart most definitely did.

Much of the praise must go to Musical Director Darren Alderton; to have achieved this quality with singers, largely untrained, takes some doing. He’d also mustered a fine 24-piece orchestra.

Director Tony Dart had, likewise, garnered some great work from his principal cast.

There are some fine vocals from Charlie-Rose Lane (Johanna) and Lydia Wells (Beggar Woman) and Ewan Wharton (Anthony) is clearly one to watch for the future.

As Tobias, Ross Cobold continued the run of strong work he began earlier in the year in Road Show but Sweeney hinges on whether you have a good pair of leads. And Dart most definitely did.

Sue Rourke as Mrs Lovett gave what is possibly the best performance I’ve seen from her – big, broad yet nuanced and vocally a powerhouse.

But the show, of course, belongs to Danny Owen as the eponymous barber. His resonant baritone moved easily around Sondheim’s score and his performance was spot-on.

A little more energy and precision from the ensemble would have sharpened the whole thing up nicely.

Until Saturday, November 21.

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