Sweeney Todd in Concert - May 17, 2008 (Göteborgsoperan, Gothenburg)

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Sweeney Todd - Michael McCarthy
Mrs Lovett - Rosemary Ashe
Anthony - David Shannon
Johanna - Rachel Barrell
Judge Turpin - Ian Burford
Beadle Bamford - Rohan Tickell
Signor Pirelli - James Edwards
Beggar Woman - Roni Page
Tobias Ragg - Paul Spicer
Jonas Fogg - Björn Thudén
Birdseller - Jonas Landström

On May 17, 2008, I went to see Sweeney Todd in Concert at the opera house in Gothenburg (Sweden). It was a bit special, as almost the entire cast came from London's West End, and were joined by the opera's own choir and orchestra on stage.

My entire Sweeney Todd experience before this concert consisted only of the recent movie version (with Johnny Depp), so although I was familiar with the story and the songs, it was still quite different to see it performed live on stage. The fact that it was "in concert" made it a bit different I guess, but to be fair the entire cast was in costume, and all were acting out their parts, so it really felt more like a "regular" musical than a concert version. Still, as the orchestra was on the middle of the stage, they had rather limited room for the actors. They had solved it rather cleverly by using the edge of the stage, as well as having a small stage behind the orchestra.

Right from the very beginning you get this spooky old London back-street feeling that sets the mood right away. The orchestra was really great - and you could see they enjoyed being part of this show. The cast impressed me very much. All of them did a wonderful job, and all seemed perfect for their parts!

Michael McCarthy was to be honest my main reason for wanting to see this Sweeney Todd concert. I've seen him in the 10th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables as well as the 2000 version of Jesus Christ Superstar, and have always really liked his voice, so of course I really wanted to see him perform live some day. My expectations were very high, but I was not disappointed one bit! His voice is just perfect, and his acting skill equally amazing! He was simply the perfect Sweeney Todd. He is for sure one of my favourite singers after this!

I was also extremly impressed by Rachell Barrell as the daughter Johanna. I absolutely love her voice, and she really made you care about the character Johanna. She also seemed SO sweet!! Would love to see her again!

David Shannon as Anthony was also really great! I don't think I've seen him in anything before, but he did a wonderful job as Anthony. Also Rosemary Ashe as Mrs Lovett was a real treat - so funny! Rohan Ticknell was also really memorable. I love the scene with Beadle and Mrs Lovett singing and playing the piano! So funny! Everyone else was really great too!

The music of Sweeney Todd is still rather new to me, but I really like it a lot. So many great songs that it's impossible to pick a favourite. I love "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" - it always seems to get stuck in my head. Mrs Lovett's "The Worst Pies In London" is wonderful, and so funny! Johanna's beautiful ballad "Greenfinch and Linnet Bird" is possibly the most beautiful song I've ever heard. (I would LOVE to have a recording of Rachel singing it!). Anthony's song "Johanna" is also wonderful. Sweeney Todd's creepy "My Friends"...amazing! To be honest I love almost every song in this musical! After seeing both the movie and now the concert version I'm turning in to quite the fan - would love to get hold of some recordings and dvds.

The only bad thing with this concert was that we got stuck with a pretty boring audience. I think one reason could be that it was done in English with the stubtitles hanging very high over the stage, so I think if you don't understand English you would have trouble following the story. Still, a real shame this amazing cast didn't get the audience they deserved that night. Also, we had front-row tickets, which was pretty amazing!

Obviously I very much enjoyed this concert - one of the best musicals I've ever seen, and would really like to see it again someday - as well as see the castmembers perform again.

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