Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street slashes his way into the West End with Michael Ball at the helm

Posted: 10th November 2011
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe

It's been around 160 years since the 'legend' of Sweeney Todd first appeared in a so-called 'penny dreadful' - one of a series of Gothic horror pulp fiction magazines popular in Victorian London.

We don't even seem to know who, for certain, wrote the story of the barber who took to slicing the necks of his customers and disposing of the bodies with the help of his neighbour and pie specialist, Mrs Lovett. Whatever the provenance, Sweeney Todd quickly became a favourite among horror fans with its gory eviscerations, deranged protagonist and unwitting cannibalism.

After numerous retellings, film adaptations and even a ballet, in 1979, Stephen Sondheim wrote the Tony award-winning Broadway musical, 'Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', based on Christopher Bond's 1973 play of the same name. Sondheim's 'new' Sweeney Todd is a tragic, sorry character driven by revenge and the result is some classic musical theatre, a love story of sorts and some top notch, award-winning pies.

The Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd saw Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton cast as the barber and Mrs Lovett and, following a sold-out run (which ended last week) and much critical acclaim, the show is transferring to the West End next spring. The production, at the Adelphi, will be Ball's first return to the London stage since his celebrated turn as Edna Turnblad in 'Hairspray'.

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Michael Ball, begins its West End run at The Adelphi Theatre on Saturday 10th March 2012.

Tickets range from £19 for upper circle seats to £94 for premium, with stalls tickets setting you back £54.

Update: Jason Manford to appear

Revealed on the Jonathan Ross show on Saturday 3rd March, featuring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton is the fact that Robert Burt who plays Pirelli will be away from 2nd to 27th July 2012 during the six month run and will be replaced for that period by comedian Jason Manford.

Stewart Darkin