Chichester's Festival 2011 closes with Sweeney Todd, the musical commonly acknowledged to beStephen Sondheim's masterpiece, in a cast led by distinguished musical performer Michael Ball and Oscar-nominated actress Imelda Staunton.
Set in nineteenth century London and laced with Sondheim's characteristically brilliant wit and dark humour, the musical depicts Sweeney Todd's savage quest for justice and retribution after years of false imprisonment. Aided and abetted by the pie-shop owner, Mrs Lovett, he sets out to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family. Combining a gory sensibility with elements of English music hall, the production offers a fascinating portrait of a man driven to madness by injustice and grief.
Michael Ball plays Sweeney Todd. His theatre credits include Hairspray, Les Misérables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Passion, Aspects of Love, The Woman in White and The Phantom of the Opera. He made his English National Opera debut as Hajj/Poet in Kismet and in 2005 he made his debut with the New York City Opera as Reginald Bunthrone in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. Ball co-produced Chichester Festival 2010's West End transfer of Love Story. He also has a successful recording career, and released his eighteenth album, Heroes, and completed a nationwide tour earlier this year.
Imelda Staunton plays Mrs Lovett. Her theatre credits include A Delicate Balance at The Almeida Theatre, the West End production of Entertaining Mr Sloane, Life x 3 (National Theatre and The Old Vic) and Guys and Dolls (National Theatre). Film credits include the Harry Potter series, Taking Woodstock, and the title role in Vera Drake, for which she received BAFTA, European Film and Venice Film Festival Awards, as well as an Oscar nomination. Television credits include Psychoville and Cranford.
John Bowe plays Judge Turpin. His credits include the West End production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Lady from the Sea and Heartbreak House (Almeida Theatre), Edward Bond's Lear (RSC and European tour) and Saint Joan (The Old Vic).
Peter Polycarpou plays Beadle Bamford. He was last seen at Chichester in Festival 2010's Love Story, which later transferred to the West End. His other credits include the West End productions of Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and The Secret Garden, Oklahoma! for The National Theatre, and the popular BBC sitcom, Birds of a Feather.
The cast also features Robert Burt, Luke Brady, Lucy May Barker, Daniel Graham, Gillian Kirkpatrick,James McConville and Simeon Truby. The ensemble includes Valda Aviks, Will Barratt, Josie Benson, Emily Bull, John Coates, Robine Landi, Brian McCann, Tim Morgan, Aoife Nally, Adam Pearce, Vincent Pirillo, Wendy Somerville, Anton Stephans, Kerry Washington and Annabelle Williams.