Vancouver Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd debuts this weekend.
Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street may loom largest for the mugging of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton’s 2007 screen adaptation, but the story has been staged, nearly continuously, since it opened (then tanked) at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1980. A tale of revenge and obsession, the Victorian melodrama—is it opera? musical theatre?—appears in English with English surtitles for the first time on local stages, starring real-life spouses Greer Grimsley (in his fifth Vancouver appearance, last seen as Jochanaan in Strauss’s Salome) and Luretta Bybee (in her debut both in the role and this city). Grimsley, a Wagnerian bass-baritone, has received many complimentary reviews not just for his singing but for his leonine looks and his acting—qualities that can only help him break in this spoken/sung “black operetta” (Sondheim’s words) directed by the ever-compelling Kim Collier. Sweeney Todd Apr. 25-26; Apr. 30-May 3. 7:30pm (2pm matinees Apr. 26 and May 3) Queen Elizabeth Theatre (649 Cambie St.) Tickets here or from 604-683-0222 NOTE: Contains graphic violence and scenes of a sexual nature. Not suitable for children.