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The inclusion of the Judge's lustful number Mea culpa, cut from the original production, gives a dark picture of a licentious old man. Stuart Kale gives a wonderful caricature of the Italian barber Pirelli, (a short-lived rival as Todd's first despatch) and there is exciting madness from Christopher Saunders as Toby, who first assists the pie making and then discovers the secret of their manufacture. The orchestra is, as ever, a fine supporting force to the production, under the direction of Opera North's music director James Holmes.

A scene from the Opera North 2002 revival of 'Sweeney Todd'

The programme book too is a worthy possession, containing as it does an absorbing essay by Paul Taylor on what lies behind our appetite for the macabre and terrifying and Michael Morley's fascinating background to Sondheim's interest in this old and fearful story.

The production transfers to London for a short run at Sadler's Wells from 7 to 15 June 2002, but it will surely be back!

Copyright © 16 May 2002 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK




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