Review of Irving Stage Company’s musical Sweeney Todd at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, November 2023
This week the Irving Stage Company brought musical thriller Sweeney Todd to the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds - and I was lucky enough to watch it on opening night.
Settling into my seat alongside a slightly harsher theatre critic (my mum), I was eagerly anticipating the familiar, catchy songs from Stephen Sondheim.
I am pleased to say, the show full of tragedy and pies, did not disappoint and to prove it I have been warbling along to The Ballad of Sweeney Todd since Tuesday evening.
Alongside the big musical numbers the Irving Stage Company production had everything else, including a fantastic set and a brilliant chorus of townspeople.
When they sung as an emsemble it felt like the cast were going to raise the roof off the historic theatre with their voices.
A special mention must also be given to whoever put together Sweeney’s costume - the steampunk leather-look really gave his character an extra edge.
There were plenty of stand-out performances on opening night, Marc Kerr as Sweeney was at points terrifying and he managed to portray the tragic and gruesome story perfectly.
Local sixth form student Harvey Gould brought some light relief as Tobias (Toby) but also shone in the sadder, more tender moments. He is certainly one to watch.
Acting-wise I had a soft spot for George Lane as the sailor Anthony - his performance was charming and relatable and made me think I had met him somewhere before.
Though I can categorically say I have never had a sailor repeatedly singing my name outside my bedroom window.
But my main takeaway from the evening was the barnstorming performance from Kate Hiser as Mrs Lovett.
Hiser’s voice was incredible throughout and she brought the sass, chemistry and comedy to the role.
As the musical drew to a close you could start to see the craziness in her eyes, which combined with Kerr’s whipping his razor around was frankly terrifying.
As Hiser belted out another Sondheim classic my mum (a bit of a chatty theatre-goer) turned to me and said: “This show could be on the West End”.
And I couldn’t disagree with her - it was one of the best shows I have seen at the Theatre Royal in years.
Sweeney Todd, directed by Sian Couture, will be at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, November 11.
Tickets are still available from the Theatre Royal’s website and box office.
The Irving Stage Company’s next show will be Stepping Out - coming to the Theatre Royal in May 2024.