It’s 1846 and a young sailor called Anthony Hope docks in London after recently rescuing a man at sea called Sweeny Todd. Sweeny Todd has a troubled past and when he finds out his wife is dead and daughter is being raised by the man who poisoned her, his lust for murder and revenge continues to grow.

I have been to a few ‘Havering Music Maker’s’ productions and ‘Sweeny Todd’ has the same high standard that I have come to expect from them. The singing was at an operatic standard and dancing was excellent

Nick Ford, who played Sweeny Todd, took a while to really get into character. At first I feared that he may have problems, as many productions do, to portray the psychopathic nature of Sweeny Todd and then came the transforming moment when, like Jekyll transforming into Hyde, Todd goes completely mad and starts his killing spree.

The best scenes were with Sweeny Todd and Mrs Lovett. Mrs Lovett is very much the comic character of the night and Jackie Lowe delivers some of the funniest moments in the whole show. Her flights of fancy in “By the sea” was especially comical and one of my favourite moments of the night.

Anthony Hope and Joanna provide a stark contrast to Todd and Lovett, as the young love couple. Jake Portsmouth’s, who plays Hope, had an incredible voice, so much so that I would not be surprised to see him on the stage in The West End. Molly Taylorson, who plays Joanna, provides the other half of this innocent couple and does an excellent job of portraying a girl who has been locked away from the world.

The staging was brilliant, two layers, with the Todd’s shop on top and Mrs Lovett’s pie shop on the bottom. The big moment was when Todd revealed his chair, with built in slide, and I looked forward to seeing the ‘bodies’ falling down to the shop below.

I found Havering Music Maker’s production of Sweeny Todd hilarious and would highly recommend going to see it, but I warn you it is very dark humour and you will find yourself willing Sweeny Todd to kill his customers while the show turns morals on their heads in this tail of vengeance and cannibalism

Havering Music Makers return to The Queen’s Theatre, 20 – 22nd July with Fiddler on the Roof

HornchurchLife’s Reviews appear in the Trident magazine and Musical Theatre Review. If you would like to feature them on in website or magazine, contact us at