Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society with their operatic and dramatic production of Sondheim’s disturbing grand Guignol bloodfest, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, showed why they are one of the top musical theatre societies in Ireland.

This musical thriller ripped into the audience with a viciousness and a venom that left no one in any doubt as to the monstrous deeds taking place. Captain Fergus Carroll as musical director led an orchestra that created the mainly fretful and frightful moods of a city on fire, a smouldering fetid place. With almost eight per cent of the show sung like opera or more definitely operetta with a dark scary score this orchestra swept all before them as they underscored and supported one of the strongest acting and performing principal line ups I have witnessed in Carrick. Add to this a galvanising and committed chorus who populated the stage sometimes as observers, other times like scavenging vultures but always when required in great voice to do justice to a difficult set of lyrics. Catriona O’Dwyer as Chorus Mistress did amazing work often in discordant high registers. Tony Finnegan, directed with vision and relentless passion turning a small stage area into places to chill your blood. Time and again he creates stage pictures that Hogarth would have been proud of. He also got the balance right by bringing out the comedy as a counterpoint to the awfulness of the story of bitterness, revenge and human depravity. Fiona Hennessy assisted him with fine detail and consistency. Gerry Taylor’s lighting was apt and atmospheric, dark and shadowy but chillingly stark when needed and deeply yellow when needed to create less dismal settings. John O’Donoghue designed a multi-purpose set but I didn’t like the intrusive knife and fork insets.

For full review see the Munster Express print edition.