Emma Thompson is returning to the London stage for the first time in 25 years for a string of performances in a concert version of Sweeney Todd. The British actress made her New York stage debut in the role of villainous pie-maker Mrs. Lovett in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street in March (14), and now she's taking the show to the U.K. capital.
She will re-team with Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel, who performed the title role in the Big Apple concerts, and the show will make up part of the English National Opera's first ever season of musical theatre next March and April (15).
Thompson last graced the stage in London in 1989, when she appeared alongside ex-husband Sir Kenneth Branagh in Look Back In Anger, directed Dame Judi Dench.
Emma Thompson sealed her place as a star of the New York stage by making her debut in a concert version of Sweeney Todd on Wednesday night (05Mar14). The British actress plays notorious pie-maker Mrs. Lovett in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, which opened at Avery Fisher Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday.
Thompson appears opposite Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel in the title role, and she has won over the critics with her performance.
The New York Daily News' theatre reviewer Joe Dziemianowicz insists Thompson "stole the show" and praises her "robust singing voice" and "plenty of comic chops".
Roger Friedman of Showbiz411.com also hails Thompson's star turn, writing, "I'd have paid double last night and would pay it again to see Emma Thompson... Thompson lets loose as crazy, happy, lovelorn pie baking Mrs. Lovett. If only Thompson would come to Broadway in this! She wouldn't need to campaign to get a Tony Award."
The show's opening night also featured an uncredited surprise appearance from actress/singer Audra McDonald, and garnered a star-studded audience, with attendees including Meryl Streep, Neil Patrick Harris and Sweeney Todd's composer Stephen Sondheim, who was brought up onto the stage to take a bow during the curtain call.
The production runs until Saturday (08Mar14) and will be broadcast on America's PBS network at a later date.
Performances of Stephen Sondheim's musical "Sweeney Todd," about a London barber who delights in killing his customers, and his companion Mrs. Lovett, who helps him dispose of the evidence as "meat pies." Years ago, the corrupt and lecherous Judge Turpin ousted Sweeney Todd, a celebrated barber, from London. The judge seduced Todd's wife, trumped up false charges against Todd, and then took custody of his infant daughter. After returning to London to make Turpin pay for his deeds, Todd is befriended by Mrs. Lovett, a pie shop owner who is "creative" in finding ingredients for her culinary delights. Together, the duo of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett go on a rampage in the name of profit and revenge.