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Frome Amateur Operatic Society’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ Impeccably shaved

‘Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, about to be performed by the Frome Amateur Operatic Society from 2nd – 5th October at the Frome Memorial Theatre, is the best known of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals. frome, somerset, faos, frome amateur operatic society, frome musical theatre company, sweeney todd, frome memorial theatre,

Since it was first performed 34 years ago (in 1979) his black comic musical has achieved the rare status of a masterwork by a modern composer that is frequently performed, but this will be the first time it has been seen in Frome.

In 2010, Sondheim, aged 80, became something of a national treasure and received a special lifetime Olivier Award in celebration of his birthday. Sweeney Todd is justly considered as a perfect example of its genre, sometimes called opera bouffe, musically and thematically. Its particular appeal for audiences seems to be its ability to simultaneously disarm and disgust. One critic called it a ‘monstrous vision of man devouring man in which horror and hysterical humour are irresistibly intertwined’ (The Daily Telegraph 04.06.93).

Sweeney Todd is the fifth of six productions in which Sondheim collaborated with Hal Prince in the 1970’s. He had already had a certain success as a composer and lyricist with ‘A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum’ and ‘Anyone can whistle’ in 1962 and 1964. These musicals followed his debut as a lyricist with Leonard Bernstein in ‘West Side Story’ in 1957. He repeated that success with equally tart and sprightly lyrics for ‘Gypsy’ two years later.

The company is having great fun working on this masterpiece but also finding incredibly tough and stimulating. In fact society chairman, Andrew Carpenter, says it’s the most difficult piece he has had to learn, both musically and physically, in his 42 years with the group. He hopes audiences will come and support this production and be welcomed into the wonderful world of Stephen Sondheim.

All performances commence at 7.30pm and tickets are now on sale at the Memorial Theatre box office by ringing 01373 462795, by visiting the web site at www.fromememorialthe or by visiting them in person of course between 9.30am and 1.00pm from Monday – Saturday inclusive.

Please kindly note that this production is recommended for 16 years and over as it contains scenes of a dark and adult nature.

Pictured: FAOS rehearsals are well underway for Sweeney Todd