One of Stephen Sondheim's typically intricate and clever lyrics in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street goes:
Here's the politician, so oily
It's served with a doily
Have one, put it on a bun
Well, you never know if it's going to run.
In the song, piemaker Mrs Lovett is spruiking her wares to Sweeney but in Dramatic Productions' upcoming mounting of the musical the lines have special significance. One of the barber's victims who will end up baked into a pie at many of the performances will be none other than the ACT Leader of the Opposition, Alistair Coe.
Producer and director Richard Block said he met the Member for Yerrabi at a CAT Awards function who agreed to be killed off in gruesome fashion in the musical. He will begin rehearsals next week.
"He loves the theatre and had never been in a show before.. He's a great supporter of the local theatre scene."
The Opposition Leader was unable to get a pair to attend the show's launch, on Wednesday, which took place in the not inappropriate environs of a hairdressing salon. But Norris Hair and Beauty in Phillip was rather more salubrious than the Victorian-era emporium where Sweeney Todd plies his trade.
Todd (David Pearson) sneaks back to London having been sentenced to years of transportation to Australia for a crime he didn't commit by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Max Gambale) who had designs on his wife and daughter. Todd finds his wife Lucy is apparently dead and his daughter Johanna (Demi Smith) is the judge's ward and is consumed by the desire for revenge. He opens a barber shop above the pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett (Meaghan Stewart) and the two form an unholy alliance.
Pearson, last seen on stage as Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, said he thought Todd was "a bit of a social climber" who had married above his station and used his marriage and his occupation - a barber in the era being a kind of surgeon - as a means of getting ahead in life but found he could not achieve happiness.
"Society - the class system, the judicial system, the penal system - keeps putting everything in his way."
He is transformed into a sociopath and swears revenge on those who have wronged him.
"There's a lot of collateral damage."
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is on at Gungahlin College Theatre from October 6 to 21. Bookings: 62531454 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm) or stagecenta.com.
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