“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
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!
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.
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.