Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street – 2014 Edinburgh Fringe

Quite a few of the shows I would have liked to see don't open until next week, and going for unknown material by unknown companies is a risk. So I started my time at the 2014 Fringe with something where I knew the material was better than 'good': Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The company is from a school in Hawai'i, would they be ok? I am delighted to say that the answer is that they're better, they're very good. There's a cast of 27 listed in the programme, which makes it just over 33p each for a £9 ticket.

The staging is very simple, and not everyone amongst the main characters is quite as audible as the others, but that's about the main criticism I have, and because the venue's seating is on three sides, they're sometimes singing while facing away from you (I'd recommend sitting in the middle section).

The 1h45m really did not seem anything like as long. Because of the emphasis on the lyrics, Sondheim can be a hard choice, but I only noticed one small slight fluff.

Congratulations to everyone involved: this is one of the best school productions I have ever seen, and there are going to be a lot of 'professional' companies doing shows that are not nearly as good as this at the Fringe. Very definitely recommended.

4/5

It's on at theSpace on Niddry St (Venue 9) at 11:10 until the 7th August 2014. See it.

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