The latest Showstoppers’ performance of Sweeney Todd is being performed until Saturday at The Annex Theatre in Southampton. With a young, energetic and enthusiastic cast, from performers, musicians, technical team and production team, they certainly put their stamp on Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!
The cast really came into force with whole group numbers and singing was strong, loud and crisp; however, solo lines during chorus songs were missed at some points and at times throughout the show, diction was unclear.
Leading man Alex Wareham played the title role and was extremely convincing, portraying the character with precision. Alongside Wareham, the role of Anthony was played by Will Fieldhouse who had a strong singing voice with clear diction. Supporting the male cast members was Samena Brunning who played the role of Mrs Lovett with clear, comic timing and excellent facial expressions throughout – she was a joy to watch. Amy Springett played the part of Toby and her confidence grew as the show went on, with her strong acting ability really shining towards the end of the second act.
The company supported the main cast with choreography by Charlotte Evans which was well rehearsed. For me, it was just a shame that space on the lower level of the staging was limited and at some points restricted the choreography.
This Sondheim score is a beast to tackle and although some parts were lost, especially during the fast paced songs, the company numbers were energetic and slick. Costumes on the whole were apt for the story; however, some were a little too revealing and this should have been considered when crawling or bending over on the stage.
Musical director Ben Mcquigg strongly led the band through this Sondheim score with confidence and accuracy. The band, made up of Mcquigg and nine other musicians, should be congratulated for their efforts and delivery.
Although this production had a laboured start and a longer first act, overall the production team put in a lot of effort into making this show what is it. Director Phoebe Armstrong made full use of this small, intimate venue. Different heights created the variety of scenes and the use of the company using the auditorium for exits and entrances really did make full use of the venue.
This is the second Showstoppers show I have seen, and it is clear to see that this company are one big team, with roles within the company changing with the shows. It proves just how versatile this group really are. This production is a must see for any Sondheim fan!