Emma Thompson returned to musical theatre after a 30 year break to make her New York stage debut in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to critical acclaim alongside Bryn Terfel as the serial-killing shaver. She last appeared on the boards in London in 1989 in Look Back in Anger. With her then husband Kenneth Branagh and in the musical Me and My Girl with Robert Lindsay in 1985.
For five performances she played Mrs Lovett, London’s worst pie maker in the concert production of the Sondheim’s classic, seminal musical at the Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts in the Big Apple. Backed by the New York Philharmonic Emma wowed the critics last month, one saying she, “not only held her own against more experienced vocalists, but wound up running off with the show”.
I quickly drew this minimal line drawing when I found out she would be attending the Empire Awards at the end of March, where she was nominated for Saving Mr Banks. Like the trooper she is, Emma signed for everyone, including my sketch, “Oh Sweeney,” she smiled, “I hope you win,” I said. “So do I,” she replied – and she did.