Emma Thompson to Return to London Stage in “Sweeney Todd” After a 25 Year Absence

Photo: Richard H. Smith
Photo: Richard H. Smith

I am a complete theatre addict, and I have a bucket list of people who I really want to see live on stage.  Over the last few years I have ticked quite a few off my list, and thanks to the English National Opera, I will get to tick another off the list.

National Treasure and ex “lovey” Emma Thompson will be reuniting with opera singer Bryn Terfel to reprise the role of Mrs Lovett in the Stephen Sondheim musical/opera Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The production will run at London’s Colliseum, which is the home of the English National Opera, from March 30 to April 12, 2015.  The pair previously played the roles in New York earlier this year.

Speaking at a press conference today, Ms Thompson has hinted that the limited engagement at the Coliseum, which has always been a favourite theatre for the actress, may lead to further roles in the West End.  Thompson has not acted on the London stage since her run in Me and My Girl back in 1985, which was adapted for stage by her friend and fellow National Treasure Stephen Fry.  Thompson said; “I haven’t been on stage, you’re absolutely right. I try not to think about that. You’ve got to keep doing different things. Flinging yourself, leaping into the dark as Agnes De Mille so famously said, otherwise you get a bit samey and you can get bored.”

Thompson said the role was a dream to play and being able to bring the story of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett back to it’s home in London was too good an opportunity to turn down; The thought of playing this piece in London – this revolutionary piece about poverty and deprivation. This great music and these amazing words.”

She also said that she is hoping that her nerves will be more under control in London, as she found playing the role in New York incredibly nerve wracking; “I’ve never felt so frightened ever. What I’m hoping for is a slight improvement in London. What I mean by that is no nausea – no actual nausea. If I can manage the fear without nausea I’d be really happy.”

Ms Thompson is full of praise for her co-star, the opera star Bryn Terfel – Having Bryn there is fantastic – I’d be all eurgh and then I’d turn round and there was the Rock of Gibraltar who always knew what note it was.”

I was lucky enough to watch the last West End production which starred West End legend Michael Ball, and incomparable Imelda Staunton, who is a friend of Thompson, and she admitted that she did speak to Staunton about the role prior to her New York performances.  Apparently Staunton was not afraid to tell Thompson what a challenging role Mrs Lovett would be; “I said to Imelda last year, ‘What do you think – do you think I could manage it?’ She gave me this look. ‘If you start working on it now…’ – this was August – ‘you might be okay.’ Note the might! Might being the operative word.”

If the images from the press call, and from the New York run are anything to go by I think the London audiences are in for a treat.

I can’t wait to get the opportunity to see Emma Thompson on stage next year, and I genuinely hope that Thompson will return to the West End stage again, perhaps in a Shakespeare play, and if the fates are truly in my favour, perhaps she would consider reuniting with her ex-husband and friend Sir Kenneth Branagh, because who won’t want to see this awesome duo reunite on stage. A girl can dream.

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Kirsty Wallace

Chief Managing Editor at 4 Your Excitement
Kirsty Wallace is the Chief Managing Editor for 4 Your Excitement.

Kirsty has been writing in secret ever since High School however has recently decided to share her ramblings with the world.When not writing about all things culture especially Doctor Who, Glee, Literature and Theatre especially musicals such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Kinky Boots; she can be found working as a Personal Assistant and Administrator.

She spends way too much time on Twitter talking about all her favourite things , however as her father points out at least she is surrounded by friends!!Kirsty also enjoys travelling with the UK and wider afield.
Kirsty Wallace
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