Saturday, 6 December 2008

NOTES/REVISIT: “Sweeney Todd” + “Imagine This”

I had a chance to catch the Union’s production of Sondheim’s legendary Sweeney Todd this week, but won’t be reviewing it as I also have a friend in the cast. It’s also sold out and closing on Sunday.

It did, however, give me an excuse to bring up an old debate: What’s the difference between London AmDram and most of the London Fringe? After all, nobody’s getting paid at either of them and I’ve seen pros slumming it in London AmDram for exposure.

This was also my first trip to the Union, and it’s a nifty venue - I’d love to put something like Hedwig in there. I’d also want to get the seats redone - they rival the Menier for being uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t planning to revisit Imagine This, but a friend wanted to go and it’s not exactly hard to get free tickets (or discounts - they were handing out £25 fliers afterwards) so back to the New London I went. The show’s been tightened up a bit since I saw it originally, but it’s still in need of one more revision - the campy slave character is still annoyingly out of place and the first act didn’t hit particularly well with my friend or a fair bit of the audience, but the second act certainly did - even if I’d personally cut the final song. In short, it’s flawed but so much is good (score, cast, design, and yes, concept) that I stand by saying that Imagine This is worth giving a chance on a discount.

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