Sweeney Todd play

Whitgift’s Sweeney Todd production receives spine-tingling reviews after outstanding performance.

What better way to dust out the winter cobwebs than with a spine-tingling, bone-chilling and rip-roaring performance of Sweeney Todd. Whitgift Drama never fails to impress, and the collaboration with girls from Old Palace of John Whitgift School, and Croydon High School courtesy of Whitgift Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (WAVPA), topped off with a 40-piece orchestra, makes for a production worthy of the West End.

The audience was transported back to Victorian London with a vast array of colourful, and delightfully-dark, characters. A barber is wronged by a judge, who robs him of his wife and child. After a period of exile, the barber returns with a new identity and is hell-bent on revenge. He finds an unlikely ally in a down-and-out pie shop owner. In a murderous twist, their scheming changes the humble pie business into a flourishing, and thoroughly macabre, enterprise.

Alex Buchanan transforms himself into the mad, bad, bitter and very twisted barber Sweeney Todd, and Blanche Brown, of Croydon High, skilfully creates co-conspirator Mrs Lovett, who is simultaneously endearing and yet blood-thirstily thrifty.

Todd and Lovett’s escalating deviance draws in their surrounding characters – a stellar supporting cast – into their tangled web of deceit, with an ever-rising body count.

Head of Drama, Mrs Miranda Merrett, commented, “Sondheim’s production is a complex and intricate work of art, and doing it justice was therefore a considerable challenge – yet these very talented students have truly mastered the difficult music and brilliantly-eccentric characters. I am incredibly proud of their professionalism and outstanding achievement.”

Author: Beverly Gibson-Patteux, Whitgift School

To find out more about Whitgift School, visit their website.

“…grizzly yet gripping hit musical!”

Last week, Whitgift School put on the grizzly yet gripping hit musical, ‘Sweeney Todd’ performed by Whitgift boys, Old Palace girls and Croydon High girls, courtesy of The Whitgift Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (WAVPA).

I and many other Old Palace girls from Years 10-12 took part in this fantastic production, in which a barber called Benjamin Barker, who changes his name to Sweeney Todd, returns to Victorian London to avenge his unjust exile by a judge, who sent him away for many years in order to take his wife and child. On Fleet Street, he meets Mrs. Lovett, owner of a failing pie shop, and as the two form a partnership, they devise a chilling plan to boost her business and feed Sweeney's bloodthirsty need for revenge. 

The score was extremely challenging but we managed to grasp the difficult yet brilliant music, whilst acting to our highest standards. Our intensive rehearsals started in October, giving us lots of time to really develop our characters and try and grasp the atmosphere of Victorian London. At first, the performances seemed a long way off, but time flies when you're having fun, and before we knew it we were preparing for opening night! 

I loved being a part of this show and am very proud of myself and the other cast members for making ‘Sweeney Todd’ such a brilliant production. We are all extremely grateful to the Whitgift teachers who helped us every step of the way, and the flexibility of the Old Palace teachers who were immensely understanding about the intensity of the show.

Author: Fiona, Year 11, Old Palace Student.

To find out more about Old Palace School, visit their website.

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