AUDITIONS for SISTER ACT - EASTER 2018

Fully Open Auditions for Sister Act our 10th Birthday Show will take place at Easter 2018.

A Workshop Audition will take place on Good Friday March 30th,  10-12.30 for EVERYONE who wants to take part in the show (Venue TBC)

Principal Auditions for all named characters that sing below will be by appointment over Good Friday afternoon and all day Easter Monday at 25 Wolseley Road Godalming, GU73EA

The event page on Facebook is here... https://www.facebook.com/events/106163143273330/

Audition materials will be posted on the Facebook event early in the new year or can be obtained by contacting the Director.

Please register your interest and request a slot via FB or by emailing the Director, Alison Lawrence on ar.lawrence@outlook.com.

Cast Descriptions - Strong singing and movement required unless otherwise stated !
Playing ages are rough guides only !

Deloris Van Cartier
Mid-20s to mid-30s
A feisty, strong-willed, larger than life character. Curtis’ bit on the side. Brought up a Catholic and taught by nuns, she has rebelled against her upbringing. She has dreams of becoming the next big singing sensation, which Curtis keeps promising to make happen for her, but never will. She eventually finds what she has been seeking where she least expects it.

Mother Superior
Late 40s and up
Haughty, well spoken, stickler for rules and routine with a tough exterior, but she is not so confident when alone with God. We see a softer side to her by the end of the show. She really doesn’t want Deloris in her convent.

Sister Mary Robert
Early 20s
A small, postulant nun. Very timid and quiet, until she eventually finds her ‘voice’. She hasn’t chosen to be a nun; she is only there because she knows nothing else.

Sister Mary Patrick
Mid 20s up
A large, bubbly, excitable, over the top, larger than life character. Very innocent and not at all worldly-wise; everyone’s friend.

Sister Mary Lazarus
35 +
Choir mistress who gets moved aside. Bit of a grump! Nothing fazes her, she takes everything in her stride, even rapping!

Monsignor O’Hara
40s+ (non-singing role)
A friendly, good natured gentleman. Always bright and positive, even though his parish is almost non-existent and faces closure. He loves the change that Deloris brings to his church.

Curtis
Mid-20s to 40, dependant on casting of Delores.
Confident, chilled out, gangster. He is always in control of the people around him, his actions and any situation he finds himself in. He is untouchable, or so he thinks.

Eddie Souther
Mid-20s to mid-30s, must be able to move well.
Police Officer – Totally uncool! Bit of a nerd, but there is a cool guy hidden inside him, waiting to get out! He is often downtrodden but takes everything in his stride and is a good cop.

TJ
20s up
Youngest of Curtis’ henchman and meant to be his nephew, which is the only reason he has the job! He is naïve, daft and childlike and easily manipulated. Finds humour in everything he can.

Joey
25 up
Curtis’ head henchman. Does what he is told without question. Thinks he is a cool ladies’ man, but he really isn’t!!

Pablo
25 up
Curtis’ Hispanic henchman. He is quiet, moody and the toughest of the gangsters. Most of his dialogue is in Spanish. He is a slick smooth dude, but slow!

Michelle & Tina
20s up
Nightclub backing singers. Good time girls, been around the block a few times!!

Ernie (non singing role)
30s up
Curtis’ oldest henchman. He gets killed for grassing on Curtis to the police.

.

 

REVIEW: URINETOWN September 2017 - 'a mighty fine show'

Some extracts from our review by Sardines Magazine!

The house lights dimmed and the show opens with a grim welcome from Police Officer Lockstock, assisted by street urchin, Little Sally. According to Lockstock and Little Sally a twenty-year drought has caused a terrible water shortage, making private toilets outlawed. All ‘activities’ take place in public conveniences controlled by a corporation called Urine Good Company (or UGC). To control water consumption, people must pay to use these amenities and there are harsh laws ensuring that people pay to pee. Breaking these laws results in offenders being sent to a penal colony called 'Urinetown'... never to return.

The oppressed townspeople wait in line at the poorest, filthiest urinal, Public Amenity no.9, which is run by the rigid, harshly authoritarian Penelope Pennywise and her assistant, dashing young toilet operative Bobby Strong. Trouble ensues when Bobby's father, Old Man Strong, cannot afford his urinal admission for the day and asks Pennywise to let him go free just this once. After Old Man Strong's plea is dismissed he is forced to urinate on the street, is arrested by Officers Lockstock and Barrel and escorted off to Urinetown.

Everyone in the production is superb, ....Bobby Strong (Jon Bingham) played the role brilliantly... Catherine Willoughby takes on the role of heroin, Hope Caldwell (daughter of ‘Urine Good Company’ boss, Caldwell B Caldwell), wonderfully, playing every inch the damsel in distress. She equally matched the prowess of her leading man.

Another exceptional performance comes courtesy of Matt Hough as Officer Lockstock. Not only is he one of the main characters, he also acts as narrator to the piece. Hough handles it with aplomb, giving some lovely tongue-in-cheek expressions as the part demands.

All characters are played beautifully without exception; clear diction, excellent singing voices and wonderful dancers. So, it is difficult to pick out individual names ...but I will name just a few...

Darea Ellis as Little Sally, plays her role with all the juvenile naivety she could, bringing the character to life with great reality. Sabrina Hinchcliffe takes on the role of Penelope Pennywise with despicable sassiness and looks as though she's thoroughly enjoying her role. But the person who stands out head and shoulders above the rest, for me, is Jeandanel Antwi as Hot Blades Harry. His movements - singing, dancing and acting - comes full of experience and you can’t help but watch him all the time he is onstage. Keep your eye on that name, he will go far.

Under the direction of Danni Stembridge, the accompanyment is wonderful, with not a bum note in sight (or earshot) from her five-piece band. Oozing professionalism, Andy Thompson, Ted Hayes, Andy Hadfield, Manon Bristow and James Patrick are strong and reliable.

Gary Oliver, Charlie Anderson and their team's Lighting is another positive aspect to the show perfect at all times and at all levels. They say that if you don’t notice the lighting, it must be just right - and I did love the coloured lights shining from the toilet pedestals. The back projection graphics (Fred Pollard) in great comic-book style, are also well done.

Choreographer, Emma Hough, does a fantastic job with the way the whole show evolves through movement and the whole thing was very ably directed by Alison Lawrence, who obviously knows what is needed to bring this production to the stage.

 SImply Theatre put on a mighty fine show ...I wouldn’t hesitate going back to see them again in their next production

Sondheim Magazine - Review of Sweeney Todd - 5 STARS!

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Simply Theatre at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, 15-17 September. Star rating: ***** (5 stars)

It doesn't get much better than Simply Theatre's wartime update on one of the greatest musicals ever written, Stephen Sondheim's bloody masterpiece Sweeney Todd.

Moved forward from Victoriana to the sirens, blitz and bobbies of smoky 1945 London, Alison Lawrence's punchy production hit its stride straight away and stayed on top of Sondheim's difficult material to its murderous end, with the tighter Act II even improving on the first.

Having a well-thought-out split-level set with an open-plan barber's shop on top of Nellie Lovett's gruesome shop-turned-slaughterhouse was a good start but Sweeney would be nothing without two great leads and this classy Woking group had them.

Darren Street, deep-voiced and menacing in the title role, and Sarah Jones, who extracted every bit out of comedy out of one of Sondheim's great creations, the lovesick but equally dangerous Mrs Lovett, worked brilliantly together.
I have not seen the clever word-play of 'A Little Priest' that wittiest of ditties, in which the pair discuss what sort of gentry might fill their pies, better performed, staged or choreographed - and I've seen more Sweeneys than I can shake a stick at! It made for a stunning finale to Act 1.

The other big success was Neil Brown's Pirelli, who played to the crowd as the faux-Italian barber with his phony elixirs and stole every scene he was in. By rumbling Sweeney, his stay was not as long as some as he was first to be bumped off but it was all very drole while it lasted!

Street, Jones and Brown set the bar very high and nobody, absolutely nobody, let the side down.

The eight-strong band under musical director Matt Brown showed a good understanding of Sondheim's complexities.
Joint-choreographers Megan Swaisland and Matt Hough thoroughly deserve a name-check for the busy crowd scenes.
Several nips and tucks were made to the text but the joins were hard to detect even by someone who has seen a multitude of Sweeneys and they kept proceedings down to two and a half hours and all the better for it.

Jeremy Chapman

AUDITIONS for I LOVE YOU, YOUR PERFECT NOW CHANGE

Auditions for our next show - the hilarious musical about love and relationship, packed with comedy and a great opportunity to take part in our first event to be staged at Camberley Theatre in February 2017.

The piece requires a cast of 4-8 people 2m/2w to 4m/4w for a multi role ensemble piece. Auditions are on Saturday 12th November 3-7pm and Monday 14th November 7.30-10pm. Audition packs are available from the director Alison Lawrence on ar.lawrence@outlook.com - or check out our Facebook Event as all the details are there! Please contact Alison to book a slot - just a few left on Saturday! Monday has more room! 

Performances are 10-11th Feb at Camberley and there is an Audition fee of £5 for everyone and a show fee of £45 on top once cast.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Paul Weems

Paul in rehearsal with Emma Hough (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Paul in rehearsal with Emma Hough (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

"Smile for the gentleman and you shall have a sweetie"

Time is running out! - 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' opens tonight. You may still be able to buy tickets from our online box office for tonight, Friday, Saturday matinee or Saturday evening at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking. Go to our website and check now.

Your Name: Paul Weems

Character Role: Mr Fogg the asylum owner

Tell us about your character: He is essentially a rapey asylum owner who sells the hair of his inmates in order to start his own business as a fork manufacturer.

Your favourite line: Favourite line must be 'smile for the gentleman and you shall have a sweetie' it's not said enough these days and I'm thinking of bringing it back

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra will we get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? The audience can expect a lot of things they've never seen before in Sweeney, this cast, probably the clothes, most of the haircuts, I think there's an owl in there somewhere. Oh and the different setting of the 40's

Paul (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Paul (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? ‘Never gonna give you up’, Rick Astley. What do you mean that's not in it?!

What other shows have you done? Most recently I was in Jerusalem where I played a frightened sheep. Well the character was Davey but I played it like a frightened sheep. Actually it was more a pensive sheep  

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Well I was on stage with the original West End cast of Cats until they told me I wasn't in Cats

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? The musical moment would have to be watching Cats

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? I'm enjoying the fact that we're not doing Cats. And the professionalism and desire people have to put on a good show, not dressed as cats

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? Golf and watching beetles

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Samantha Weems

"... both get thrown to the ground at some point during the show."

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' Opens tomorrow night and runs until Saturday. It's looking to sell out so don't delay - you can still book at our box office for the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking

Samantha

Samantha

Your Name: Samantha Weems

Your Role: Prostitute and Inmate

Tell us about your character. Ones a whore and the others crazy... both get thrown to the ground at some point during the show. 

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? God That’s Good - “That is de - have you – licious, ever tasted, smell such, Oh my god, what more, that's pies good!” Because it makes so much sense (It doesn't) and I know it off by heart (I don't) 

What other shows have you done? I played Nancy Alwright in Death By Fatal Murder, Queenie in Blackadder II and a pink haired raver in Jerusalum. 

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Everything (except Neil Browns stupid facial hair!) Everyone is so friendly and helpful ... It’s a fun group to be involved in! 

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? In my spare time I enjoy sketching, painting, and making wire jewellery and crafting. Basically give me some glue and paper and I'll make anything!

 

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Jamie Wilson

"The cast is phenomenal such a big sound coming from so few voices!"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' opens this Thursday at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking! Some tickets are still available for all 4 performances, so go to our online box office whilst there is still time....

Jamie in rehearsal with Emma Hough (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Jamie in rehearsal with Emma Hough (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Jamie Andrew Wilson

Character Name: Anthony

Tell us about your character: He's a sailor boy who has returned back home to London after months away at sea, whilst at sea he also saved Mr Todd from drowning. Whilst back in London he falls helplessly in love with Johanna and does everything in his power to win her heart, but he is downtrodden on by Judge Turpin.

Your favourite lyric: A line sung by Sweeney at the beginning about his wife Lucy "She would fall, so soft, so young, so lost and oh so beautiful". It's just expertly sung by Darren. Hits you right in the feels!

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? Alison's vision is truly remarkable and it's wonderful to be part of this amazing company, and seeing the vision coming to life. The cast is phenomenal such a big sound coming from so few voices! Without giving too much away the use of levels will give an extra effect so the audience will be able to see all the action that occurs!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? I have too many to say! All the songs pretty much from the beggar woman's ‘Alms’ (brilliantly and not type cast by Maria!) to the Choral Ballads! But a notable highlight is ‘My Friends’ which has a lovely duet at the end of the song between Sweeney and Mrs Lovett sweetly sung by Sarah!

Jamie in rehearsal with Fred Pollard (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Jamie in rehearsal with Fred Pollard (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What other shows have you done? Whilst training I've done Pirates of Penzance, Parade, Spring Awakening and Bat Boy. I've been in Joseph, Les Miserables, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof. I've also had the amazing opportunity to be part of Missing Mel a New Musial at Edinburgh Fringe which then performed in London! With Simply Theatre I was in their production of Spring Awakening (again) playing Moritz.

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Many moments! I was in a production of Les Miserables playing Enjorlas and during the scene when all the students are dying on the Barricade I had placed myself at the top in the middle waving a giant white flag! But little did I notice that I had placed myself right on the part of the barricade that separated, so when they pulled it apart I fell through the middle, scraping my leg all the way down at the same time!

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? During primary school, we did a mini school musical version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Originally I played a character in the ensemble, but then the boy who played Juliet’s father Mr Capulet dropped out and I got promoted! - Which ignited my performing passion even more!

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? EVERYTHING!

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? NOTHING!

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Maria Langford

"the Beggar Woman is one the only characters to initially sense something is wrong when Mrs. Lovett's pie shop begins to attract customers"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are going fast. You can book now at our box office (and still get your choice of performance & seat!)

Maria in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Maria in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Maria Langford

Character Name: Beggar Woman

Tell us about your character: She is a deranged homeless woman living around Judge Turpin's house and Fleet Street who tries to sell herself to Anthony and Sweeney. Despite the fact she is crazy, the Beggar Woman is one the only characters to initially sense something is wrong when Mrs. Lovett's pie shop begins to attract customers. She even tells the people on the street to get the police, but they ignore her. She is convinced from the outset that she knows Sweeney Todd.....

Your favourite lyric your character has: Sondheim has a gift for creating musical motifs and arrangements which reflect his characters and their stories. As she is a confused, crazy person her musical lines reflect that! With that in mind, lyrically she sings, '..how would you like to fish me squiff, Mister?' among other choice phrases!

Maria (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Maria (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? There are morals and warnings all through the story, that's true. I hope the Simply version will bring out some real connections and relationships between the minor characters and the ensemble to support the central plot.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? ‘By the Sea’ - It's funny and frivolous and allows the audience to connect and empathise with Sweeney in a humorous way as Mrs Lovett plans their life around him!

Maria in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Maria in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What other shows have you done? With Simply? Rent (2015) and Into the Woods (2013). I'm looking forward to participating in the sneak-peak of Simply's next production, ‘Urinetown’, as part of the 'Wells in Woking' Sci-fi drama collaboration on 22nd-24th September. I've also recently branched out into film this year, as a 'supporting artist' (background extra!). My first big screen appearance will be in 'Allied' which hits cinemas in November... Don't blink, you might miss me!

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Hmmmm, plenty! It's what makes live theatre so much fun to do.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The people. There is always such a rapport created and there are always a mixture of new and familiar faces both on and off stage and the social side is always fun.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? Sleep and teach.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Emma Hough

Emma in Rehearsal with Jamie Wilson (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Emma in Rehearsal with Jamie Wilson (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

"She longs for excitement in a caged and isolated life."

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs this coming Thursday until Saturday at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - The evening shows will probably sell out so book now at our box office whilst you still can!

Your Name: Emma Hough

Character Name:  Johanna

Tell us about your character: She is Sweeney’s lost daughter who has now been entrapped by Judge Turpin as his ward.  She longs for excitement in a caged and isolated life.

Emma in Rehearsal with Akhil Gowrinath (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Emma in Rehearsal with Akhil Gowrinath (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your favourite lyric your character has: ‘I'm a silly little ninny noddle’ - I think Anthony and Johanna are generally played as ‘wet fish’. I hope that we have brought more life and character into the roles. No wet fish here!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My favourite song is Epiphany, if you aren't terrified after Darren sings this you are very brave.

What other shows have you done? Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, Footloose, Fame, The Pajama Game, Half a Sixpence, Spring Awakening, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Grease.

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? I sneezed mid-sing once….

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? There was no particular moment, I was born doing jazz hands.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Putting on a top notch standard production with a talented group of people who constantly keep me laughing.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? Absolutely nothing else – I even chose to do a degree in it. 

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Suzanne Vermiglio

"I’ve really thrown myself into the deep end with a bit of Sondheim"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are going fast. You can book now at our box office (and still get your choice of performance & seat!)

Suzi in reheasals (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Suzi in reheasals (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Suzanne Vermiglio

Your Role: I play a waitress first in a pub then in Mrs Lovett’s pie shop. I’m also a lunatic in the asylum. 

Tell us about your character: I’ve really enjoyed being a lunatic – I’m channelling my inner nutcase and having fun expressing it!

Your favourite lyric your character has (… or one you’re struggling to memorise!): That’s a tricky one! I quite enjoy City on Fire from a purely masochistic point of view – particularly the fact that as soon as we think we’ve got it, the lyrics change. Pesky Sondheim!

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? The sorrow and desperation of Sweeney really comes out, I think. The fact that he is slitting throats not just because he thinks it’s brilliant fun, but because he has been driven insane by grief and a lack of control over his own life is really clear.

Suzi (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Suzi (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? I love ‘Try the Priest’. Every time I hear it I laugh, there are just so many funny bits!

What other shows have you done? The last show I did was Bugsy Malone when I was in Year 7! I’ve not done anything like this for a very long time, and I’ve really thrown myself into the deep end with a bit of Sondheim. I don’t think it will be quite so long before I’m back again though!

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? Every musical moment ever! I’ve always loved singing and dancing (usually in the private of my own kitchen) but I’ve always harboured a secret desire to do it for real. Watching a friend of mine do shows with her society in Oxford over the last few years only made it me want to do it more.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? All of it! The Simply gang are so lovely. They’ve really made me feel welcome and there’s always someone to look after me when my inexperience is making me a bit unsure. I’m loving every single minute of being involved with Simply Theatre.What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? In real life I’m a secondary school teacher but when I’m not planning or marking I enjoy being outside. I’ve just got back into running and am training for a 10K in October and I’m also trying to remember how to windsurf! 

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Alex Kirkham

“...careful with your coriander, that’s what makes the gravy grander.”

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' opens a week tomorrow! Running from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - We are expecting it to be a sell out so don't leave it to late to buy tickets - You can book now at our box office 

Alex in rehearsal with Jon Bingham and Neil Brown (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Alex in rehearsal with Jon Bingham and Neil Brown (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your name: Alex Kirkham

Your role: The bird seller.

Tell us about your character: The bird seller works on Fleet Street, selling small birds in cages; possibly for people to keep as pets...I imagine that would’ve been fashionable at the time. In the show, the bird seller sells a Green Finch to Anthony to present to Joanna as a romantic gift.

Your favourite lyric or line: Not my line, but I do enjoy Mrs. Lovett singing “...careful with your coriander, that’s what makes the gravy grander.” Probably because it rhymes...and there’s some alliteration. That’s always satisfying.

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? Our production of Sweeney Todd will allow audience members to see and hear a classic story in ways they hadn’t considered before. The stage of the Rhoda McGaw Theatre is very giving in terms of width and depth; which will definitely amplify the drama that unfolds in this musical.

Alex (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Alex (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My favourite song in the show is probably the ‘kiss me’ quartet, where The Judge, Beadle, Anthony and Joanna sing simultaneously. It’s extremely clever.   

What other shows have you done?Sweeney Todd’ is my second show with Simply Theatre. Last year I played Tom Collins in ‘RENT’. In the past I’ve played The Adult Male (Spring Awakening), Mr. Bumble (Oliver!), The Baker (Into the Woods) and appeared in the chorus of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘West Side Story’ to name a few.

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Recently in a production, I had to open a small book and read a receipt inside. Long story short, when myself and another cast member opened the book on stage in the second act, we were surprised to find a rude drawing on the receipt – sneakily planted in the book by someone else in the cast.

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? Going to see ‘Blood Brothers’ for GCSE Drama.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? Generic answer, but the people! The social side of Simply Theatre is second-to-none. We have nights out, nights in, birthday drinks, birthday karaoke, birthday cake...the list goes on.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? Last Summer I finished my music degree at Chichester and moved back to Berkshire. Since then, I’ve been working as a learning support assistant for 16-21 year olds. When I’m not at work or in rehearsals, I’m usually writing stories and lyrics, catching up with friends, eating or sleeping.  

Meet the Cast & Crew of Sweeney Todd: Alison Lawrence

"We have a more modern setting, physical theatre, lots of great choreography and all the high production values we strive for every year"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are going fast. You can book now at our box office (and still get your choice of performance & seat!)

Alison!

Alison!

Your Name: Alison Lawrence    

Your role: Director

Tell us about your role: I am the one with the pen and paper, encouraging, motivating, designing, devising and generally worrying about the whole thing!

Your favourite line from the show: Mrs loves -  'Thats all very well' – it’s so funny after Sweeney's ultra-emotional epiphany – Classic

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you we will we get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? This really is quite a different production - we have a more modern setting, physical theatre, lots of great choreography and all the high production values we strive for every year - The ensemble have mainly all been principals with us or elsewhere before so they really are top notch and are the bedrock of the show, topped off by our wonderful principals!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Almost all of Anthony's! – ‘Johanna’ such a beautiful melody and feeling ...

What other shows have you done? Dozens - directed almost all the Simply shows since we started in 2008 - everything from ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ to ‘Rent’ and ‘Abigail’s Party’ through to ‘Forbidden Planet’.

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Lots - now I spend my time trying to spot the ensemble parts building without me knowing - Two of the ensemble in this are meant to play dominoes at one point-  they were miming Jenga at last night's rehearsal !

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? In terms of directing, watching a live Broadway feed of into the woods in 1988 -  I didn't really get involved in theatre until a few years later, as I was a musician, but I loved it and 25 years later directed it with Simply, which was a dream come true

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? New People, new ideas, getting to put on the shows I love or discover, with such talented casts and creative teams we are all really proud of what we achieve

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I work in IT! so need some escape from that - and this is the perfect antidote!

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Sarah Jones

She is a chatterbox pie-maker ... with a not so secret crush on Sweeney Todd.

Just 2 weeks today will be closing night of 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' - Don't miss your chance to the best production of this show you might ever see! Running from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - Book now at out box office (whilst you still can!)

Sarah in rehearsal with Darren Street (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Sarah in rehearsal with Darren Street (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Sarah Jones

Character Name: Mrs Lovett

Tell us about your character: She is a chatterbox pie-maker trying to make ends meet as a widow - with a not so secret crush on Sweeney Todd.

Your favourite lyric your character has: “We have some shepherds pie peppered with actual shepherd on top” from A Little Priest

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My favourite song is Little Priest because it is comedy. The lyrics are very clever and it is a story changing moment that also develops the relationship between Sweeney and Mrs Lovett.

Sarah in rehearsal with Akhil Gowrinath, Darren Street & Frazer Woodhams (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Sarah in rehearsal with Akhil Gowrinath, Darren Street & Frazer Woodhams (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What other shows have you done? With Simply I have performed in Little Shop of Horrors and Rent, and played in the band for Grease

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? I was in Sweeney Todd playing the part of Toby when I was 13 at school and during one of the scenes my trousers, which were pinned in place, fell down from the weight of the mic pack I was wearing. Of course I picked them up and continued singing, but not my proudest moment. I ran off stage after the scene to have a belt handed to me by my teacher before she pushed me back on stage!

Sarah in rehearsal with Darren Street (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Sarah in rehearsal with Darren Street (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? I can’t pinpoint one moment really, I’ve been singing in public since I was 4 years old and love performing in musical productions and concerts. I was fortunate enough as a child to have been encouraged by my parents to learn instruments and thanks to supportive teachers, had lead roles in school productions since I started school, all leading to my training at Music College.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? I love working with Simply because everyone is extremely talented and very friendly. We have so much fun and make a great team. Each show features new members and old.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? Not much really, most of my week is spent teaching instruments, directing choirs, singing at church and performing in concerts. I do also enjoy baking and crochet when I get a minute to myself. 

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Darren Street

“He's a nice guy. No really he is! ... Or shall we say he was."

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' is now lest than a two weeks away! Running from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - We are expecting it to be a sell out so don't leave it to late to buy tickets - You can book now at our box office 

Darren in rehearsal with Maria Langford (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Darren in rehearsal with Maria Langford (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Hi, I'm Darren Street

Character Name: I'm playing Sweeney Todd

Tell us about your character: He's a nice guy. No really he is!  Or shall we say he was. It does something to a man when he's framed and unlawfully imprisoned for life only to find (after escaping to return to his family) that the offending Judge has moved in and taken his wife and daughter.  Thinking his wife now dead, and his daughter in danger, he plots his revenge (gently urged on by Mrs Lovett) and the killing begins. Looking at the actual character of Todd, is he the victim here? In my portrayal, I think it is important for me to explore Todd's vulnerability, and play him as a man in the first instance, then once I understand the man himself I can then begin to explore the things that would drive this man to commit such terrible acts of brutality. It's a complex role, and it would be very easy to play him as a razor wielding maniac, but I hope in avoiding this I can bring more realism here, and tell his story much more honestly.  I'm lucky to be opposite Sarah Jones as Mrs Lovett. She's incredibly detailed in her performance which allows us to weave in more complex layers. Is Mrs Lovett the evil one in this whole thing?  You decide!

Darren in rehearsal with Sarah Jones (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Darren in rehearsal with Sarah Jones (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your favourite lyric or line your character has (… or one you’re struggling to memorise!): I can't remember the one I'm struggling to memorise, but my favourite line is "Later on, when it's dark, we'll take him to some secret place and bury him" ... It's at a rare quiet moment in the show and this line really resonates with me

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think an audience member will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? OK, apart from the character stuff I explained earlier, the show we have for you is a new, fresh telling of the story. It's slightly shorter, we've cut some bits but rest assured the cuts are sharp and intelligent.  We've got some physical theatre going on to help push the narrative and some great choreo that actually means something. To top it all we have brought it right forward and set it in 1945 wartime London. If you want a dark underbelly in which to set such a show, you couldn't get much darker. It really is 'terribly' good, you know.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Easy, it's the first verse of 'My Friends', very near the beginning of the show. It's when Todd can't help but show his soul to Mrs Lovett. A lovely moment in the show where we see Todd totally stripped back, vulnerable, and alone.  It's from here we see Todd's journey truly begin.

What other shows have you done? I have been acting since I was 13. My most memorable roles have been in Sondheim shows, Follies, A Little Night Music and of course Sweeney Todd. My first role was in Cinderella with Chobham Amateur Dramatics Society in 1984, which I remember distinctly. I suppose my absolute favourite show was Frank Zappa's 'Thing Fish' back in 2003 at Battersea Arts Centre.

Darren in rehearsal with Frazer Woodhams (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Darren in rehearsal with Frazer Woodhams (PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Yeah, hahaha. Me and Polly King on stage during another version of Sweeney a few years ago. As we ran off stage at the end of act one, we didn't notice thatsmoke machine had leaked oil onto the floor by our exit.  We consequently slipped and slid off, stage right, on our asses! The audience seemed to appreciate it anyway.

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? Hmmm, a tough one.  I would have to say it was probably my first West End show that I saw. I was only a kid. It was 1987 and we had a school trip to see Starlight Express - Original show and cast. I have to say it blew my mind. I bought the soundtrack (cassette!) and I listened to it 24/7.  OK it wasn't one of the classics, but after a week I knew every lyric.  It was a real life changer.  I remember I used to go to bed, turn out the lights 'pull my covers up tight' and listen to the title track... "When your goodnights have been said, and you are lying in bed, with the covers pulled up tight!"  It evoked so many wonderful images, I can remember picturing the Starlight Express as if it was real, right there in my bedroom!  I liked other shows too, though, probably.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? So far? The beer and the wonderful people.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I'm a voiceover artist. And I am a skydiver, it's what I do to relax.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Ellie Lunt

"...really refreshing to work in such a professional environment"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are on sale now. You can book at our box office.

Ellie in rehearsal with Anna Tippelt, Jon Bingham and Sarah Jones (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Ellie in rehearsal with Anna Tippelt, Jon Bingham and Sarah Jones (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Ellie Lunt

Your Role: Shoe-shiner/Pickpocket, Inmate

Tell us about your character: My character is a shoe shiner by trade, trying to collect money by any means she can! She targets primarily men to pickpocket - and easy targets with big pockets!

Your favourite lyric (… or one you’re struggling to memorise!): “God that's good that is de-(have you)-licious, ever tasted, smelt such, oh my god what perfect, more, that's pies, such flavour, God that's good!” - Because it's so beautifully confusing and difficult to learn!

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story (slitting throats and dubious pies), but what extra will we get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? I think the audience gain a further insight into the relationship between Johanna (Emma Hough) and Anthony (Jamie Wilson)! I think that the way that the characters relate (and both Emma and Jamie fully embody the characters) gives a new dimension for the audience. Also, I believe the audience will gain further insight into the story of Sweeney Todd through the ensemble work throughout the piece because, as an ensemble, we work well together to appropriately provide the audience with the correct information to get a feel for the environment the characters are in.

Ellie (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Ellie (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My favorite song in the show is ‘A Little Priest’. I think it brings out the true nature of Mrs Lovett’s character! Also, Sarah Jones (Mrs Lovett) and Darren Street (Sweeney Todd) perform the song so well and you get to see the relationship forming between the characters.

What other shows have you done? Other shows I have done include Cabaret (Fraulein Kost), Marine Parade (Claire), The Believers (Mariane), Macbeth (3rd Witch) and I've been ensemble in shows such as Fame, Return to the Forbidden Planet and Sweet Charity.

Ellie in rehearsal with Anna Tippelt, and Monisha Parhar (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Ellie in rehearsal with Anna Tippelt, and Monisha Parhar (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? I think the first time I stepped on stage in year 5 was when I thought that maybe I would like to be more involved in musical theatre. And then, as I became more aware of the ‘musical world’, I became more and more interested! 

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? I enjoy the people! As I am new to Simply Theatre, it has given me the opportunity to get to know people I wouldn't ordinarily meet, all of different ages and backgrounds, but sharing the same interest in theatre. It's also really refreshing to work in such a professional environment.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? That's a very good question! Because I do theatre at uni, I don't have much of a life away from theatre!  However, I enjoy playing guitar and used to do gymnastics and trampolining. I also work in a pub pulling pints and waitressing!!

 

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Christine Siddall

"...the simple joy of a night out with your mates in the pie shop!"

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are going fast. You can book now at our box office (and still get your choice of performance & seat!)

Christine

Christine

Your Name: Christine Siddall    

Your Role: Washerwoman, Inmate and Ensemble

Tell us about your character: Hardworking widow as husband killed in WWII, mum of Maddie and fighting to give her a better life.

Your favourite lyric your character has: “Inconspicuous Sweeney was, quick and quiet and clean he was, back of his smile, under his word, Sweeney heard music that nobody heard”

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story, but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? Sweeney has been glamorised in the past. “Simply” bring back the realism: the story telling in the ballads, the drab and dowdy costumes, the real evil and menace of Sweeney and the simple joy of a night out with your mates in the pie shop!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? My fave is “By the Sea” I’ve always loved the clever narrative lyrics coupled with the catchy syncopated tune. Mrs Lovett is voicing her pipe dream and for those few minutes you can forgive her bad behaviour!

Christine in rehearsal with Ann Tippelt (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Christine in rehearsal with Ann Tippelt (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What other shows have you done? ‘A Doll’s House’, ‘Lillies On The Land’, ‘42nd Street’, ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’, ‘Am Dram the Musical’, ‘Calendar Girls’, ‘The Producers’, ‘Annie’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Mame’, ‘Grand Hotel’, ‘NINE’ and loads more!  

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? When I was playing Prince Charming in Cinderella, on the last night, I said “Where will I find the other slipper?” To my surprise, the cast threw on stage: sandals, wellies, army boots, stilettos and all varieties of footwear. So I had to watch and say “None of those, then!”

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? When I was a teenager studying singing. We went to see the opera “Cosi Fan Tutte”. It’s a really fast paced fun story, the singers looked as if they were having such a laugh and their joy spilled out into the audience and me! I wanted to be in musical theatre.

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The mix of familiar faces and new friends, being accepted and working hard to make this a stunning show.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I am the Project Manager for Hart Foodbank, we distribute about 1400 food parcels to the needy people of North Hants. I’m married to Tony and a mum to Mark and Andy who both enjoy amdram too!

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Neil Brown

"Expect flamboyance with a hint of Super Mario on cocaine"

Neil in rehearsal with Daren Street (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Neil in rehearsal with Daren Street (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Character Name: Pirelli

Tell us about your character: He’s a bit of a tosser really. No need for method acting here. No really, I am actually my character. Expect flamboyance with a hint of Super Mario on cocaine. He thinks he’s the dog’s b******s when it comes to barbering and let’s face it, he’s right, I cut my dad’s hair all the time. 

Your favourite line your character has: “It was-a DA POPE!” Because everyone loves a religious reference. 

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story (slitting throats and dubious pies), but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? Me. (I guess the rest of the cast are okay too. Joking aside, we have a fantastic team who always deliver. Alison directing, Gary bringing his anti-faff policy backstage, Megan choreographing like a dancing machine (and tolerating my lack of dancing ability) - not to mention everyone else. Alison has a great vision, and I’m very excited to be a part of that this show!

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? Any song where the judge sings “Joanna”, just because it sounds like Alan Rickman as well as being incredibly rapey! I also like ‘Kiss me’ despite the fact that Joanna clearly dim... That harmony. That harmony…

Neil in rehearsal with the cast (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Neil in rehearsal with the cast (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What other shows have you done? Most recently ‘Jerusalem’ with Pranksters in Guildford, which was great craic and probably the best set I’ve ever been on - a really fun show. I’ve done various other bits in the area, such as ‘Blackadder II’, ‘Bent’, ‘Road’. This is my second Simply show, having done ‘Grease’ as Roger. I truly am typecast as an arse! 
    
Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Well in ‘Jerusalem’ Paul Weems (who is also in this show) unfortunately, nearly slammed me into an aluminium mock-up of a Winnebago - I think his aim was to kill me after 3 months of intense rehearsal together! Also putting extreme porn into fake scripts for the mechanicals was a genius prank from one of the cast of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at school. It brought a whole new meaning to meta theatre. 

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? I don’t know really, I’ve always enjoyed singing, I guess it’d have to be year 6 where I got the opportunity to play Bottom in the children’s version of Midsummer Night’s Dream at School. It was a bizarre musical written by the beeb (although still not as bad as the recent interpretation), so I had to sing a little solo. I still actually have a video from that - My parents were that proud that they transferred it to DVD a few years ago, clearly just in case I’m on an episode of ‘This is your life’ - heard it here first boys and girls! 
What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The social aspect is great, everyone tolerates my awful sense of humour and are a great laugh to be around. At the same time everyone’s driven to do a good job, Simply always put on great shows and it’s a privilege to be a part of.

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I run with my local club, Chiltern Harriers, who by the way are hosting a 10k race, Shardeloes, up in Amersham on 18th September, the day after the show. It is super cheap and a lovely route! Apart from running I currently am learning Japanese and am hoping to take an exam soon in basic competency. 

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are on sale now. You can book at our box office.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Monisha Parhar

"This is my first show with 'Simply'..."

'Sweeney Todd' has an array of fascinating characters, so many of our cast get to play multiple roles.

Moni (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Moni (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Name:  Monisha Parhar

Role: Young Lucy / Washerwoman / Inmate

Tell us about your character: Young Lucy is the faithful and loving wife of Benjamin Barker and mother of Johanna Barker. However, Lucy can be naive and this at times can result in a bad outcome. 

Your favourite lyric your character has: “..freely flows the blood of those who moralize”, this line is suggesting whomever crosses Sweeney won’t get away with it. It’s so simple yet powerful.

Moni in rehearsal with Jon Bingham (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Moni in rehearsal with Jon Bingham (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show? I have so many songs I love in Sweeney, but if I had to choose one it would be “By the Sea”. This song is so well done by both Darren Street (Sweeney Todd) and Sarah Jones (Mrs Lovett). I feel this song adds a sense of humour to the play and also shows just how in love and infatuated Mrs Lovett is with Sweeney. 

What other shows have you done? This is my first show with “Simply” and hopefully won’t be my last. I have also been in musicals such as Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Sister) and Grease (Cha-Cha DiGregorio). I have also been in straight acting plays such as Stockholm (Kali) and That Face (Izzy).

Moni in rehearsal with Ellie Lunt, Matt Hough & Daniel Owen (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Moni in rehearsal with Ellie Lunt, Matt Hough & Daniel Owen (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Luckily for me I haven't had that much bad luck. I do however remember one time in College when I had my tech run for “Cellblock Tango” from the play “Chicago” during which we had to straddle a chair. Somehow when I got to this move I managed to get my dance shoe stuck on the chair leg and ended up dragged it around with me for the next 16 counts. It was very embarrassing! I actually don’t think I have ever told that story to anyone so count yourself lucky!!

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? I remember my first time on stage performing was at school. I had done dancing from a very young age at wedding’s and such, but I had never really sung in front of a big audience before. I was in Year 4, we had a talent show and I decided to sing. All I remember was being on stage in the huge hall with all of the years from 1-6 watching me. I was so nervous but I looked over and all my friends were smiling and mouthing “you can do it”. After performing I just remember feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt and I loved the feeling of singing a story to an audience. Everyone was so supportive. (I also remember the boy I fancied at the time came up to me and said I was really good and asked me out, which for me at that age was a big deal!)

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The best thing about “Simply” is that they are all like a musical family to me. The moment I went to my first rehearsal everyone was so sweet and welcoming. I feel like I can be myself and not worry what people think, as we are all as crazy as one another. 

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? I’m a very performing arts based kind of girl. However, before I decided I wanted to go down the performing arts route, I wanted to be a photographer. I still love photography and have my own blog about my travels. 

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are on sale now. You can book at our box office.

Meet the Cast of Sweeney Todd: Akhil Gowrinath

"...35 shows later and I’ve still got the bug!"

Akhil (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Akhil (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Your Name: Akhil Gowrinath

Character Name: Judge Turpin

Tell us about your character: “Most Honourable Judge Turpin”… or not! The Judge is a true villain – he arranges for the undeserving Sweeney to be arrested because he has a bit of thing for Lucy. I wish I could say that was the worst thing he does in the show but, alas, I can’t! He potentially has one redeemable moment in the show as he adopts Sweeney’s daughter Johanna, but ruins that by his lecherous advances towards her once she turns 16…creepy! 

Your favourite line your character has: “There is indeed a higher power to warn me thus in time” – this line was originally cut, but after I was cast I persuaded Alison (Director) to put it back in. I can’t tell you why it’s my favourite – I just like it.

Everyone knows something of the Sweeney Todd story (slitting throats and dubious pies), but what extra do you think we will get from the Simply version of this Sondheim telling? An ensemble of characters – Sweeney Todd’s ensemble typically is very hard to direct – they are effectively the story tellers of the show and it’s very easy to make them just that – but by adding in characters within that – the show creates an almost immersive atmosphere by drawing the audience into the story. Also, the choreography in the show sets it apart from others.

Akhil as Judge Turpin in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Akhil as Judge Turpin in rehearsal (Photo courtesy of FRONT OF HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY)

What’s your favourite song in the show and why? 'Johanna' (Act 2) – I love this song – a really beautifully written quartet. I also love that Sweeney sings this lovely song as he kills people, which adds to the dark comedic essence of the entire show.

What other shows have you done? This is my 2nd show with Simply, having played Benny in RENT last year. Far too many to list them all, but other roles include Eddie (Made in Dagenham), Jamie (The Last 5 Years), Seaweed (Hairspray), Jim Conley (Parade), Willard (Footloose) and Harry (Company).

Has anything ever happened to you, on-stage, that wasn’t in the script? Several matinee pranks! One that comes to mind was in 'Our House' when I played Emmo. The premise was that I indicated that I was going to take my top off and then get shot down by two of the other characters. During the matinee, they decided to not shoot me down and actually get me to take my top off… I was so taken aback that I completely broke character, almost did take my top off then remembered I had a mic belt on so couldn’t and just mumbled “erm…no”. 

What musical moment first made you think, “I want to do that!”? I’d always loved acting but never knew I could sing. My last opportunity to perform at school was a musical, (you may have heard of it) Les Miserables (it’s funny cos I hadn’t heard of it at all!). So I thought I may as well audition and managed to get some decent singing parts in the show. Doing the show gave me such a buzz, that I had to continue doing musicals! 35 shows later and I’ve still got the bug!

What are you enjoying most about being part of Simply Theatre? The social aspect of Simply is one of the best I’ve encountered in the am-dram world! Also, it’s always nice to perform with such a talented group of people. Additionally, this year there hasn’t been a huge crossover with the people who were in 'RENT' last year and so it’s meant meeting a whole bunch of new people, which I always like!

What else do you do besides singing, dancing & acting? By day, I’m a mild mannered tax advisor at a global accountancy firm. By night…I’m Batman…don’t tell anyone! 

'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' runs from Thursday 15th September until Saturday 17th at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking - tickets are on sale now. You can book at our box office.