DCUDrama takes a stab at Sweeney Todd

Orla Dwyer

Attending the tale of Sweeney Todd in St. Patrick’s Auditorium, Drumcondra was a delightful fright from beginning to blood-soaked end.

The production was performed by DCU Drama from the 3rd -5th April. The show was initially planned for the 20th-22nd of March in the Helix but was postponed and re-located.


The director, Jack Reardon, made certain changes from the average production of Sweeney Todd, mainly by including much more blood than normal. The dramatic blood drop at the climax of act two was the perfect end to the consistent flow throughout the show. The lighting was very moody and set the scene for the dark production from the beginning of act one.


Harry Delaney played the main character of Sweeney Todd. His icy yet charismatic portrayal of the infamous barber worked excellently and his immense singing skills also shone through. The real star of the show was Mrs. Lovett played by Niamh O’ Connor. Her bold, powerful voice resonated with the audience long after each song ended.


The chemistry between these two characters was tangible and wonderful to watch. Sweeney’s frosty, calloused demeanour contrasted perfectly with Lovett’s excitable and entrepreneurial spirit. Watching Sweeney silently make a small mud hut on the ground while Lovett gleefully sang ‘By the Sea’ couldn’t have epitomised it better.


The relationship between Anthony and Johanna (played by Donncha Tynan and Alissa Keating), on the other hand, was a breath of clean air from the toxic, acrid fumes emanating from other characters. Their hilariously fast blossoming relationship, even by musical standards, brought some more tension to the show once the malicious plan of Judge Turpin (coolly played by Enda Molloy) was revealed.


The chorus were almost completely naked and covered in mud, blood and chalk for the entirety of the show. They clambered into scenes, stepping over each other to prove themselves the dirtiest of the lot. The scene where they ate flesh from troughs perfectly displayed their animalistic and ravenous personalities. Nobody could avoid the drool and force feeding, no matter how hard they tried.


Once the first murder takes place, a wonderful sequence of killings unfold as the audience witness chorus member after chorus member being ‘slit’ in the throat and fall to their death.


Adolfo Pirelli (played by Nathan Mannion) flourished as the rival Italian barber to Sweeney who turns out to be a lad you would find in Santry. Pirelli brought some animation to Sweeney’s solemn character.


The show had plenty of comical moments to keep the audience satisfied between murders. Toby, Pirelli’s barber apprentice played by Ben Lebofsky, brings a magical hair elixir to the filthy chorus members. If their reactions to this exciting development are not Tony-worthy, I’m not sure what is.


Beadle Bamford, Judge Turpin’s henchman played by Conor O’ Reilly, also made a comedic outburst with a stunning and seemingly infinite song about the twelve bells in the tower of Bray.


The production was a success filled with blood, murder and conniving business plans. Truly something for everyone in the audience.