Sweeney Todd triumphs!

A tale of horror and loss, a tale of revenge, a nightmarish gothic fantasy. Not, at first glance, ideal material for a school play, let alone a musical – but add to the mix a beguiling and strangely captivating score, a few ingenious twists and turns, and key roles for actors, singers and dancers – and you have all the ingredients for yet another triumphant Wellington Lent Term Musical. 

And so it proved as large cast of over 40 boys and girls, a 20-strong orchestra of Wellington’s finest musicians and a backstage team comprising both professionals and pupils, delighted audiences for four thrilling nights in February 

The Annenberg was transformed into a busy and colourful corner of Victorian London, the multi-level set allowing for seamless transitions between scenes: theatrical trickery allowing the connection between fiendish barber’s chair and Mrs Lovett’s pie shop to be effortlessly made. The street scenes were all hustle and bustle, with the ensemble shining and providing a textured backdrop to a stellar cast of main characters. Amelia H set the scene as a desperate yet compelling beggar woman, while Freddie C and Madeleine P brought energy and immaculate comic timing to the roles of Pirelli and Tobias. Sebastian C as Judge Turpin and Baxter W as Beadle Bamford added an air of corrupt and threatening menace, beautifully counterpointed by the wistful yearning of Johanna and Anthony, sensitively portrayed by Emilie H and Lucas E, Nevertheless, as the name and plot of the show suggests, Sweeney Todd is ultimately about the two main characters, Sweeney and Mrs Lovett, and Hugo W and Hayley C rose to the challenge magnificently. They were quite simply superb, showing a range of both voice and expression, their musicality elevating the show to a level of professionalism seldom seen at school level.  

Sweeney was Wellington at its very best, a glorious fusion of talent from across all year groups, truly coeducational, creative, sassy and thought-provoking. The production oozed with a profound sense of joy and teamwork from all involved, and special praise must go to Clare Cooke, Director of Choreography, Sean Farrell as Musical Director and Jim Russell as Director: their inspiration and leadership ensured that this outstanding production of Sweeney Todd will live long in the memory. 

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