Sweeney Todd: bleeding good theatre

Sweeney Todd: bleeding good theatre
Image: Antoinette Halloran and Ben Mingay in SWEENEY TODD. Image: Daniel Boud

This timeless classic by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler is aptly described as a murderous musical and returns to the stage to simultaneously mesmerise and frighten audiences.

The 18-strong cast is headed by Ben Mingay in the titular role of Sweeney Todd and Helpmann nominee Antoinette Halloran who portrays the pie-baking Mrs Lovett.

American mezzo-soprano Margaret Trubiano, who has played endlessly in many productions including The Phantom of the Opera world tour and Into The Woods, explained that in essence this musical is about misguided retribution and what happens when someone takes the ‘eye for an eye approach’. “The one who seeks revenge ends up losing the most. The underlying themes are classic – humanity, revenge, and love.”

SWEENEY TODD, ABC Rehearsal, Photo Credit: Jordan Munns

She describes her role of the Beggar Woman as a dream come true.

“I’ve been so fortunate in my career to take on such incredible roles as I’ve straddled musical theatre and opera. I’ve wanted to take on the role of the Beggar Woman for a long time now. Playing this role requires such emotional output as she is multifaceted,” she explained. “Because of her impaired state, I have to layer her character based on when she was sane and put her insanity on top of it.”

The Beggar Woman is the heartbreak of Sweeney Todd and audiences should feel pity for her. “There is so much sorrow and compassion for her plight. She’s had a life of suffering and a series of misfortunes that aren’t of her making. When she tries to end her pain, she fails and is left impaired.”

Margaret Trubiano. Image: supplied

Trubiano said the rehearsals were hard work yet so satisfying to see the whole production falling into place – but their work was really all about the people.

“I am constantly inspired by this cast’s commitment to their roles, their passion for this project, and our creative team who nurture us to reach the highest artistic standards.”

And what is it like working with Ben Mingay? “He and I play long lost husband and wife. I’m so impressed with his level of detail; it’s transfixing and when you see him doing his thing you’ll realise you’re watching a master at work!”

Trubiano believes this musical is regarded as a timeless classic because of the musical score. “The score is deceptively tricky (Sondheim was a genius!). It’s looking and sounding spine-chillingly good. You’ll leave the theatre humming multiple tunes from the show.”

There’s a wide range of types of audiences that this musical should appeal to. “Theatre, opera, musical fans, and slasher film aficionados. The audience will need to be able to withstand some gore!” concluded Trubiano.

July 22 – August 27

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point



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