Pie and slash! Sweeney Todd brings grisly business to London’s oldest pie shop in Tooting

London’s oldest pie and mash shop will take a theatrical turn when it hosts an intimate production of Sweeney Todd later this month.

Harrington’s in Tooting is a foodie institution that will soon switch from pies to plays – at least from October 21 to November 29 when the ‘demon barber’ is in town.

The 32-seat Selkirk Street eatery will be a snug, ominously apt setting – after all, the slasher musical’s protagonist disposes of his victims’ bodies in meat pies.

“It’s going to be pretty special, pretty unique,” Rachel Edwards, producer and co-founder of Tooting Arts Club, told SW Londoner.

“What we are trying to do, and what we are hopefully forging, is a new form of theatre which is about collaborating with people in the community.”

The group were founded in 2011 with the aim of bringing drama to Tooting, an area which lacks a professional theatre.

What followed was fringe dramatics at its quirkiest, with shows in pubs, disused spaces and – now – a century-old pie shop.

Even for Tooting Arts Club, however, this latest theatrical experiment looks set to be something very special.

Audience members will be served a helping of pie and mash before the show, while the interval will be spent across the road at Acton’s Barber Shop.

Sweeney Todd Harrington's

Get an old-fashioned blade shave if you dare!

The show also boasts some big names – despite the culinary setting, there is nothing half-baked about the cast and crew!

Director Bill Buckhurst is well-established in the industry, regularly involved in productions with Shakespeare’s Globe.

“He’s wonderful,” said Rachel. “He’s very committed, very creative and inventive.”

The production also has on-stage star, with West End veteran Siobhan McCarthy playing the role of Mrs Lovatt, the bloodthirsty baker.

The actress was nominated for an Olivier Award after portraying the original Donna in Mamma Mia in 1999.

“It’s wonderful, wonderful, wonderful that we’ve got her,” said Rachel, “She’s a real coup for Tooting.”

However the real stars of the production, she said, are the fringe theatre fans and Tooting residents who raised nearly £5000 in a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the production.

Rachel said: “We’re quite popular in the community, they seem to love it.

“People seem to have really taken to the idea – it’s kind of blown my mind!”

The pies are in the oven and the knives are being sharpened. The play opens on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm sharp – don’t cut it fine!

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