Oh there’s no place like London

Time for another post! So at present my week has been a bit quiet on the cultural front, apologies. It will pick up soon. In the meantime this is the perfect chance to dig back through my treasure chest of memories and select an Olivier Award 2013 winning musical for your delectation.

Speaking to the parents earlier today, we were deciding on a musical to go and see when they’re down in a couple of weeks. Of course it has to be a group decision and by group, I mean I suggest things and Mum vetoes almost all of them. I sold her The Bodyguard (her favourite film and now Beverley Knight is in it, one of her favourite singers) and we booked some tickets for the beautiful Adelphi theatre. Review of this upon actually seeing it 😉 But it got me thinking of the last musical I saw at this wonderful place, winner of 3 Olivier Awards (Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical) and rightly so – the dark, insidious and breathtaking Sweeney Todd.

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Now this is one of my favourite musicals and not just because it was also a Tim Burton film with Helena Bonham Carter (this definitely helped as I love the quirkiness and eccentricities of this sensational duo). I’ve always been more fascinated with darker, more sinister plays – I feel that there’s so much more depth to an evil character and it always seemed to be so much more interesting to watch the bad guy’s thought patterns. Maybe I’m just a bit twisted myself, who knows (now is not the time for a psychological breakdown of my complicated mental state). However, The idea of all this in a musical, something that is traditionally uplifting and has a happy ending in some way, I always thought exciting; if you can pull it off, it would create darkness, atmosphere and a real sense of originality. Boy oh boy, was I in for a treat!

I saw a student version of this back at Durham and safe to say, it was AWFUL. So I went with the same uni friend that cringed with at the amateur production to check out the real thing. Firstly, the Adelphi – love this place! Amazing location on The Strand and home to some sensational shows in the past – how can we forget Chicago’s 8 year run here back in the 90s. Sweeney was another triumph, such a shame it didn’t play for longer in my eyes. Me and my friend both love the backstage elements and always have to comment on set design, props etc so when we both had an aptly named ‘setgasm’ on seeing how they did the demon barbers chair, we knew it would be good. A great cast surrounded 2 exceptional leads that interpreted their characters completely apart from Burton’s film interpretation (rightly so too). Sweeney was the pinnacle of menace and grit (more like Ray Winstone in the TV series) and Mrs Lovett encapsulated some truly brilliant comedy with much more devilish balls of steel. Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton absolutely made this production and rightly deserved their awards – flawless singing and a clear connection emanated from the couple throughout the whole performance. Everything else was icing on this cake.

All in all, definitely in my list of favourite musicals seen on the West End, a high accolade indeed (although I guess the Olivier’s are a bit more prestigious…) so fingers crossed for a return in the near future! Also writing this really reminds me to go and get a haircut and makes me want a pie (despite the clear negatives of both of these in the play – where is that psych evaluation for me?!)

Word of the day – skedaddle. Don’t you love it!!

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