Davey follows in the steps of Depp for Sweeney Todd
Frome Amateur Operatic Society will be revealing a sinister side with its autumn production of Sweeney Todd and taking the lead role is society stalwart Davey Evans.
He came to Frome in 2008 and since that time has played Will Parker in Oklahoma, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Jerry in The Full Monty and most recently the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
He talks to Your Time about his role and the challenge of following Johnny Depp...
What challenges has the part of Sweeney Todd brought you?
Davey: Usually the songs are the easy bit to learn, but Sondheim is notoriously challenging and so I have to say that musically this is the most difficult piece I've performed.
How does appearing in a Sondheim musical differ from others in which you have performed?
Well, they tend to be heavier on the music compared to the words, they are lyrically clever and rhythmically eclectic. He likes to put humour into the darkness.
Have you based your performance on Johnny Depp from the Tim Burton film or Michael Ball from the recent West End production or have you found your own characterisation?
I didn't see the film until last year and I've never seen the show.
I like the way that Depp portrays the grittyness of Todd, but I've taken a leaf from Ball's book with how he's managed to portray that to a contemporary musical theatre audience without being too melodramatic.
Sweeney Todd is considered to be a dark and sinister musical but there are some highly amusing moments – please tell us about them.
There has to be a little light and shade in a performance even if it's just to make the dark parts even darker.
Even Sweeney has a little glint in his eye sometimes, but the majority of the light relief comes from Mrs Lovett (who's possibly crazier than Todd) and her self deprecating view of her own products, Pirelli the Italian barber's flamboyant arrogance or his apprentice Toby's matter-of-fact naivety.
A personal favourite is A Little Priest, where Todd and Lovett discuss the different types of people that they are going to put into her pies.
The partnership with Mrs Lovett, played by Teresa Bray, is central to this piece so how have you got on with your leading lady?
Teresa is very easy to work with and understands the partnership well.
The duo's relationship is an odd one as Todd sees it as a means to an end and is in fact so involved with himself that he rarely listens to her.
What is your single favourite number from the show that you have to perform?
I think that i have to say my favourite number is Epiphany and as an actor/singer it's a meaty one to get your teeth into.
If Todd was teetering on the cusp of sanity then this is when he loses it and goes over the edge.
The part of Sweeney Todd is very demanding both physically and musically, have you done any training to prepare for the role?
I've been fortunate enough to have played many leading roles over the past 27 years.
What other shows have you performed in with FAOS and which have been your favourites?
My first show for FAOS was Oklahoma in which I played the role of Will Parker.
It's the second time I've played the part and I loved getting involved in the dancing.
FAOS also gave me my first lead role in a pantomime as Chuckles in the award winning Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which got me a nomination for Somerset Linkman of the Year.
I've also played Gerry in The Full Monty, Rooster in Annie and The Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
I've also been in Mack and Mabel, Sweet Charity and The Sound of Music, but I think my favourite part I've played for FAOS has to be Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors which I played along side my partner Nicole Wooldridge.
What can the audiences most look forward to by coming to see Sweeney Todd?
I think that they are going to see more blood than they have ever seen in a show before, but if that's not their cup of tea, then they can expect to see a lot of drama alongside a lot of black humour.
How would you sum up Sweeney Todd the musical in one sentence that would encourage Frome audiences to want to come and see your performance?
A classic Gothic tale of human obsession with revenge, love and lust.
■ Sweeney Todd runs from Wednesday, October 2 to Saturday, October 5.
All performances start at 7.30pm and tickets are now on sale at the Memorial Theatre.
FAOS say that this production is recommended for 16 years and over as it contains scenes of a dark and adult nature.