The scourge of 19th century Fleet Street was brought to the stage of Cayman Prep and High School recently, as students put on a rousing rendition of Sweeney Todd for fellow students, teachers and parents.
According to Catherine Boyd-Moss, Cayman’s Prep’s music teacher and producer of the show, Sweeney Todd is the rather unsavoury but true story of a barber in Fleet Street, London in the 1840s.
She explains, ‘Gentlemen who entered the shop for a shave never reappeared, and Mrs Lovett’s famous pie shop next door conveniently always had a constant supply of fresh meat…’
Junior school students really got under the skin of the characters that they were playing, with Raphael Powery leading the charge as the wicked barber whose clientele got a bit more than they bargained for, while Lloyd Griffin played an impish Tobias Ragg, an apprentice at the barbershop. Grace Murphy played Mrs Lovett, the famous pie maker, Matthew Feitelberg played the returning sailor, Mark Ingestine, and Katie Cater played Mark’s love interest, Joanna Oakley. Helen Blake rounded off the cast list, playing Ma, Tobias’s ailing mother.
Mrs Boyd-Moss says she chose this particular musical for a variety of reasons: ‘All children love a good story, with baddies who nearly succeed and a hero saves the heroine while the baddie gets punished.’
She continues, ‘The songs have plenty of scope for melodramatic actions and gave the two choirs (junior girls and junior boys) an opportunity to sing in a different style requiring plenty of expression and vocal energy. It also gave many pupils the chance to add various percussion sound effects.’
Most importantly, concludes Mrs Boyd-Moss, the children had a great time performing the production. She says, ‘Mainly we did it for fun! It certainly made a change from regular, more formal repertoire.’