'Sweeney Todd' Is Unleashing Its Murderous Musical Thrills Upon the Sydney Opera House This Winter

Maybe don't eat meat pies before catching Steven Sondheim's Tony-winning Broadway and West End smash.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 09, 2023

Enjoying dinner and a show is a time-honoured theatre-going tradition, but when winter arrives in the Harbour City in 2023, one menu item mightn't prove so popular. If you've seen Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on the stage before, or caught the 2007 Tim Burton-directed movie adaptation, then you'll know which dish to avoid when it comes to the Sydney Opera House. In this Steven Sondheim-penned musical thriller, meat pies are packed with quite the unwanted ingredients.

This murderous tale of slitting throats, then stuffing body parts into baked pastries will play the famed waterside venue from Saturday, July 22–Sunday, August 27, in a production by the Victorian Opera and New Zealand Opera. Sydneysiders have had to wait for their chance, with the show already unleashing its gothic story upon Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, as well as touring New Zealand. Whether you're a local keen to spend time with music theatre's iconic villain and his partner-in-crime Mrs Lovett, or you're an interstate resident eager to see it again, expect a killer show.

Daniel Boud

As part of an 18-person cast, Ben Mingay is taking up the razor and polishing people off as the titular Sweeney, while Antoinette Halloran will join him as Lovett. The production also includes a nine-piece orchestra helping to perform classic tracks such as 'No Place Like London', 'The Ballad Of Sweeney' and the always-fitting 'The Worst Pies in London'.

Current State Opera South Australia Artistic Director Stuart Maunder, who is destined for the same role at the Victorian Opera from October 2023, will direct this season of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. "We've wanted to bring this musical thriller to Sydney for a very long time, so premiering it at the Sydney Opera House is an experience every bit as thrilling as the musical itself," he advises.

"There's no doubt that Sydneysiders will embrace this most theatrical tale of horror, which for all its blood and gore, tells a universal human story; revenge, obsession and lust, yes, but also of pain, yearning, even love."

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street doesn't just date back to the late, great Sondheim's Tony-winning Broadway and West End smash. Before that, it was a play in 1973 — and it had hit stages, screens and pages, prior, too. The homicidal barber first appeared in the 19th century, in 1846–47 penny dreadful serial The String of Pearls: A Romance, and has just kept slashing his way through popular culture since, novels, ballets, radio plays, comics and TV shows included.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street plays Sydney Opera House's Drama Theatre from Saturday, July 22–Sunday, August 27. Head to the Sydney Opera House website for further details — and pre-sale tickets from 8am on Tuesday, May 9, then general sales from 9am on Friday, May 12.

Production images: State Opera South Australia.

Published on May 09, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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