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REVIEW: Sweeney Todd (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, RCS)

Updated: Mar 26

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

20 May 2022

⭐⭐⭐⭐


Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Musical Theatre 2022)

We had great seats on Wednesday evening for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's (RCS) New Athenaeum Theatre and then disaster! Twenty minutes after it was due to start, the show was cancelled. I was so sad for everyone involved.


Luckily the amazing Box Office team were able to fit me in, in an 'not for sale' slip seat for the sold out Friday show. I was so pleased not to miss Sweeney Todd.


Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim) at RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Musical Theatre 2022)

I have never seen what some consider to be Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece on stage. I have seen the Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp and the magnificent Helena Bonham Carter in the lead roles, and I find the stage show and the film to follow largely the same plot and story arc.


Set in the dark and damp streets of Victorian London, this is the story of a serial killer who works above an unsanitary pie shop, and well - I'll let you make the connection.


The book is one of the best in musical theatre; A great story played out on stage with intertwining characters, with real jeopardy and consequences. Thank you Stephen Sondheim!


As always, RCS put on a great show, with a cast of future stars, a phenomenal orchestra and a slick production.


The standout performance came from Emily Kitchingham as Mrs Lovett. Perfect! What an absolute superstar she is.


Emily Kitchingham and Kellan Harrod in Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Musical Theatre 2022)

The show is full of complex and fascinating characters. Their motives are clear and their vengeance is bloody.


On that note, there was a lot of blood in this performance. I was sitting as close as you could be to the stage and just above the action, and I genuinely don't know how they did it. The throat slitting (sorry) looked realistic to me!


Kellan Harrod (Todd) was suitably menacing and mad when committing these crimes, but he gave depth to the character too. We fully witness him being consumed by his emotions and his need for revenge. Magnificent.


The music and musical numbers in this show are complex and abundant. More than 75% of the show is sung-through. My favourites were performed back to back by Mrs Lovett (Emily Kitchingham). 'The Worst Pies in London' and 'Poor Thing' were delivered with such wit and conviction, I just don't believe they could be done any better. Amazing.


I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Victorian London and I'll be back at RCS soon for the BA Ballet graduation performance. For the dancers' sake, I do hope there's slightly less blood in that show.


[Review first published on Instagram 3 July 2022]


Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Musical Theatre 2022)

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland / RCS / RSAMD


I try to go to the graduation performances at RCS / RSAMD every year.


RSAMD as it used to be called: The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, is now known as RCS: The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


No matter the name, it's one of the top performing arts institutes in the world with an alumni of stars. Their shows are always excellent and I highly encourage anyone living in or near Glasgow to keep an eye on their Box Office. You always get something a little different with RCS shows!



 

🩸 REVIEW: Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim, RCS, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BA Musical Theatre 2022) 🩸


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