Thursday, 9 June 2011
I had meant to write much earlier about this fabulous production. Even now I'm not going to venture a full review. I mainly wanted to congratulate Lee Blakeley and his superb production team for a wonderful production. They played it straight - No stupid concepts, no updating, no bloody actor-musos but revealed the dark heart of the work without stinting on the black humour either.
One of the things I am most grateful for is that the score was played complete - We got the tooth pulling with its marvellous rhymes, the essential Judge's flagellation scene and the full version of the Beadle's parlour songs. There was also a full orchestra in the pit and a large chorus - As a result the sheer weight of the scoring was given full, thrilling value.
In a strong cast Rod Gilfry's superb Todd and Caroline O' Connor's unbeatable Mrs Lovett stood out. Unfortunately on the performance I attended Gilfry was clearly suffering a from a fairly bad case of Frog-in-the-throat (sorry, Paris, couldn't pass that one up!) but he was still formidable. In full vocal health I would imagine he would have come close to equalling Bryn Terfel's extraordinary performance. O'Connor was a constant joy but didn't downplay the darker sides to her character. Matthew Best and John Graham Hall were luxury casting in the roles of Judge and Beadle but having voices of this calibre reveals just how good the writing is.
My only hope is that this production was recorded for either CD or, even better, DVD release.