Here is the tale (and sketch) of Sweeney Todd…. with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel

Sweeney Todd Emma Thompson Bryn Terfel

Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are two of the best entertainers in the business and quite simply two of the nicest. Both had signed separate sketches as the leads in last years semi-staged version of Stephen Sondheim’s most gruesome musical SWEENEY TODD:THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET at New York’s Lincoln Center. A reprisal of that production for a two-week run at the London Coliseum this month gave me an  opportunity to draw them together and get both to sign it.

It was Emma’s return to the West End after a 26 year absence and officially billed as ‘concert staging’ with a full orchestra as the centre piece, but director Lonny Price serves up a few surprises. Both productions received rave reviews.

The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen summed up the sentiments. ‘Terfel’s Demon Barber …continues to command the role with a laconic intensity which makes Todd’s monomania all the more mesmerising …singing with steely restraint and a welcome lack of rasp or rant he plays a Byronic wanderer with a tormented inner life. An even bigger pleasure is provided by Emma Thompson…she makes a terrific Mrs Lovett, hitting just the right balance between endearing naiveté and ruthless amorality, as well as singing meticulously.”

As you can imagine having such stellar cast members attracts a lot of interest as the large numbers of fans gathering at the stage door testified. I decided to wander around to the front and try my luck and struct the jackpot. Emma, Bryn,Lonny and the cast were heading up St Martin’s Lane for a well-deserved supper. With some trepidation, I interrupted their progress with my graph request. Playing two of the nastiest stage characters had not tarnished  their ‘nicest people in show business ‘ tag and they happily signed.


Drawing: Bryn Terfel in Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd NY

Legendary Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel was born Bryn Terfel Jones, but there was already another Welsh baritone named Bryn Jones, so chose Bryn Terfel as his professional moniker. Well, that’s sorted and he signed that name on my sketch of him as the title character in the concert performance of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Sonheim’s musical thriller was staged at the Avery Fisher Theater, Lincoln Centre in New York last month (March 2014) with Emma Thompson returning to musical theatre as Mrs Lovett.

Bryn signed the drawing at the Royal Opera House stage door before his final performance as Mephistopheles in David McVicar’s Faust.