By special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh, Tooting Arts Club’s acclaimed production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd is to move to a new home on Shaftesbury Avenue this spring whilst Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop undergoes refurbishment. The pop-up pie shop success story started last October when Tooting Arts offered up lovelorn Mrs Lovett’s infamous pies in a grisly, site-specific production of Sondheim’s most famous musical in SW17. Audiences met in the local barbers before being led into London’s oldest, functioning pie-shop, established in 1908 and complete with original Victorian decor. The musical will run for a limited season from 12 March to 16 May (press night performances run through 19–21 March).
Whilst the Lovetts’ Victorian home is out of action, Tooting Arts will re-create the interior of the beloved Harrington’s, meticulously building an exact replica at 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue to house the show, the first pop-up musical to come to Theatreland. Tickets go on sale today [Wednesday 11 February] for the atmospheric production which will once again be delivered to intimate audiences by candlelight, across the tables. Tooting Arts will continue to partner with the Harrington’s for the project, with meat pie, mash and liquor served up on site for audiences to buy before the show.
Tooting Arts Club producer Rachel Edwards said: “Putting Sweeney Todd on at Harrington’s last year was a remarkable adventure. The project sums up exactly what TAC is about – creating inventive work that is born out of exciting collaborations with people at the heart of the local community. To be able to share the project with a wider audience is a dream come true. The stars have aligned for us and through word of mouth and the incredible support of Stephen Sondheim and Cameron Mackintosh we are able to make it happen all over again.”
The cast includes: Siobhan McCarthy, Jeremy Secomb, Ian Mowat, Nadim Naaman, Duncan Smith, Joseph Taylor and Kiara Jay (who all reprise their original roles), with Zoe Doano joining them for the first time.
Sweeney Todd is directed by Bill Buckhurst, who recently co-directed the international touring production of Shakespeare’s Globe’s Hamlet alongside Dominic Dromgoole. This is the fourth production Buckhurst has directed for Tooting Arts Club, following Tinderbox in 2011, Barbarians in 2012 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer. His other directing credits include The Vegemite Tales in the West End and numerous touring productions for Shakespeare’s Globe. Musical direction is from Benjamin Cox, also composer and musical director for acclaimed cabaret theatre troupe The Ruby Dolls. Also in the creative team are set designer Simon Kenny, lighting designer Amy Mae Smith and sound designer Joshua Richardson.
Tooting Arts Club was established in 2011 with the aim to stage high quality professional productions in an area that lacks a permanent home for theatre. The company takes inspiration from the area, using local buildings to stage performances that draw audiences from across London. This second encounter of Sweeney Todd will be Tooting Arts Club’s sixth production – and their first outside their familiar Tooting home.
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Sweeney Todd – Harrington’s pie-and-mash shop, Tooting – Review
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