Cutthroat role for Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Sweeney
Operatic baritone New Zealander Teddy Tahu Rhodes has the lead role as the infamous barber in Victorian Opera’s take on Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim’s bloodiest musical.
Rhodes, playing Sweeney for the first time, hasn’t watched the Tim Burton adaptation starring Johnny Depp, preferring to put his own spin on the character, a 19th century barber who returns to London after being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to a penal colony. Todd moves into an apartment above a pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett, played by Antoinette Halloran in Stuart Maunder’s production. With Lovett’s help, Todd sets about exacting revenge on the judge who sentenced him in a particularly savage fashion.
The score is one of Sondheim’s most complex – making it particularly challenging for the performers.
Christchurch-born Rhodes told Time Out Melbourne about Maunder’s vision for the role.
“He see[s] him as this caged man, slightly unhinged, and you never know what he’s going to do next.”
Victorian Opera’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street runs until 25 July at the Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Original article by Annabel Ross, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 17, 2015.