The Demon Barber of Fleet……Street

Friday, June 22, 2012

As far as musicals go, I’ve seen my fair share and been a part of even more, so they don’t always make it very high on my tourist attraction priority list. I made a decision before coming to London, however, that if Sweeney Todd  were to come back to the West End, I’d definitely be in the audience. I’m not sure why I specifically chose that show…probably just because it feels so classically London. Minus the excessive blood. Although as our Jack the Ripper pub crawl taught us, dark and rainy London makes a pretty good setting for a serial killer story.

As luck would have it, Sweeney Todd did come to London just for a few months this year, so this past Saturday we made a day of it (thanks to Fab Flatmate Numero Uno for the photos).

Early Saturday morning we left the safety of Southeast London for Leicester Square to purchase some discounted tickets. We celebrated our ticket success with coffee and pastries at Princi, a delicious Italian bakery near Soho. We then proceeded to wander around Embankment for a few hours (specifically, playing ping pong and smart phone games in the park) before returning to Soho for dumplings. Yum.

Completely natural

Finally time for the matinee. I’m always amazed when composers succeed at making a musical dark. It seems counterintuitive to not skip out of the theatre singing and commenting on how great the dancing was. But, Sondheim is a master at creating haunting, not-so-easy-to-sing melodies and the actors took it from there. We were privileged to see Michael Ball as Sweeney and Dolores Umbridge, er, I mean Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Lovett.

After seeing all that blood on stage, who could turn down soft pretzels and sausages at Katzenjammers, our favourite German basement in London Bridge.

Spending the whole day in central London isn’t something we do very often (or hardly at all), but definitely sign me up for the next one.

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