When Stephen Sondheim – aka the world’s greatest living songwriter – turned up at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting last year to watch a site-specific production of his ‘Sweeney Todd’, it was obvious that plucky fringe company Tooting Arts Club were onto a winner.
Just how much of a winner, nobody guessed until today, when Sondheim’s mate, super-producer Cameron Mackintosh, announced that he was going to build a pop-up version of Harrington’s on Shaftesbury Avenue (just next door to ‘Les Mis’) in which TAC would restage their ‘Todd’ complete with meat pie, mash and liquor available to buy beforehand.
Inevitably prices are rather more than the heavily sold-out Tooting run: starting at £30, with ‘premium’ tickets (including food) at £67.50. However, it’s a great production, and surely worth it simply to have an old fashioned pie and mash shop return to the West End, if only for a couple of months.
In any case, it’s a heart-warming tale, even if one suspects Cameron Mackintosh has timed it to slightly troll ENO by taking some of the spotlight off their glitzier production, which opens at the London Coliseum at the end of March.