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: 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.