Elizabeth Barrett and Gabriel Macdonald star in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Nelson’s summer of Sweeney

Standing next to a barber chair, Gabriel Macdonald has truly gotten into the mindset of his morose character, Sweeney Todd.

Standing next to a barber chair on the Capitol Theatre stage, Gabriel Macdonald has truly gotten into the mindset of his morose character, Sweeney Todd.

In a moment between scenes, he calls across the room to his mother, Allison Girvan, who’s musical director for the show.

“Hey, Mom?” the 17-year-old says. “When I die — instead of donating my body to science — I think I’d like to donate it to cannibals. Those poor people…”

He’s joking, of course, and a moment later he’s back to playing the part of the blood thirsty barber who slits the throats of his unfortunate customers and gives the bodies to his landlady, Mrs. Lovett (played by Elizabeth Barrett), to use in her meat pies.

Opening tomorrow at the Capitol Theatre, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the 25th annual production of theatre’s Summer Youth Program. The cast of 33 young people, ages 12 to 20, have been rehearsing together six hours per day since the beginning of the month — while the show’s nine principal actors have been going over the music with Girvan since April.

It’s a vocally challenging show, written almost entirely in song, which is exactly the type of show Macdonald prefers.

“The less lines I have to say the better,” he tells the Star outside rehearsals last week.

This is his ninth time in the Youth Theatre Program, and may well be his last in an acting capacity. In September he’s moving to Victoria to attend the Canadian College of Performing Art.

Barrett, who’s also 17, has been in five of the summer shows at the Capitol. But she says this year’s has been a highlight for her.

“I’m extremely excited; I adore this show,” she says. “It’s the most complicated show I’ve been a part of, definitely.”

Director Geoff Burns says all the actors have been serious about learning their parts and staying focused through the long rehearsals.

“We auditioned more than 60 kids for the show. Everyone who got a part, we know they really want to be here and they’re committed 100 per cent,” Burns says. “They work with us all day, then go home and practice on their own in the evenings. They’re basically giving up half their summer to be part of this — and they’re doing it by choice.”

He says the kids get a lot out of the program. They basically get to learn step-by-step exactly what goes into a professional production. For those considering a career in acting, it’s an invaluable experience.

For 12-year-old Ecco Haake who’s taking part in the Youth Theatre Program for the first time, the past month has been an opportunity to improve her singing skills.

“I’d definitely do it again,” says the Castlegar tween who will be attending Stanley Humphries in the fall. “It’s way better than anything I would have been doing at home.”

She says she watched the summer shows at the Capitol from the audience for several years, looking forward to finally being old enough to take part in one herself.

“All the directors and everyone are super talented and I’m learning so much from them,” she says. “It’s been a really incredible experience.”

Sweeney Todd runs Thursday to Sunday at 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students or $45 for a family of four, and are available in advance at the Capitol Theatre box office or online at capitoltheatre.bc.ca. To charge by phone, call 250-352-6363.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Grade 7 Trafalgar students show off posters they put up around downtown Nelson with information about residential schools. Photo: Tyler Harper
Trafalgar class puts up residential school history posters downtown

The Grade 7 students made their own websites and QR codes

The Capitol Theatre has been transformed into a courtroom for the trial of Const. Jason Tait that started on Sept. 28 and continues. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Defence begins presenting evidence in Nelson jury trial of RCMP officer

Const. Jason Tait is charged with manslaughter after a Castlegar incident in 2015

The West Kootenay Cycling Coalition says GoByBike Week was a success. Photo: Submitted
A round of applause for GoByBike Week supporters

Nearly 200 cyclists participated

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read