Belfast Telegraph

Musical role didn't worry Imelda

Imelda Staunton kept her eyes off the big screen when honing her role in a new West End production of Sweeney Todd.

The Harry Potter star plays villainous pie-maker Mrs Lovett in the show, a character portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton's 2007 movie.

But Imelda had no conversations with Helena about the role.

The actress said: "This is a stage show. We're not making another film of it so we had to go back to the original."

Imelda stars alongside Michael Ball, who plays the murderous barber in Jonathan Kent's revival of Stephen Sondheim's gruesome musical.

Despite not having sung in a show since 1997, the actress did not take any tips from her co-star, who is a musical theatre veteran. "I've had an actor's training so I know about breathing, and I've done Sondheim before so it's not too far away (from what I know)," she said.

Meanwhile, Michael, who has dreamt of performing the role since he saw the show seven years ago in New York, joked that his career has now peaked. "There isn't a darker, better written role. It's magnificent. Nothing will stretch you as much."

But he said his role as a barber who slits the throats of his clients has brought partner Cathy out in a cold sweat. "She was really freaked out. She thought 'That isn't Michael. I don't know who this is!'."

Sweeney Todd is showing at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

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