An old pie and mash shop is to be meticulously recreated in the heart of the West End to host London’s first pop-up musical.
The replica will give a new home to a hit production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd while its original venue, the 107-year-old Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting, is refurbished.
Theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh has offered rival producer Rachel Edwards the unused bar space between two of his Shaftesbury Avenue venues to house her show after it was recommended to him by Sondheim.
Sir Cameron, 68, said: “It will be London’s first pop-up musical. Stephen’s an old friend of mine and he mentioned he had been at the last night of it and how wonderful it was. It was unlike any other production and God knows how many he has seen.”
When he rang Ms Edwards — who puts on plays under the name Tooting Arts Club — to invite her to take a look at the venue, she leapt at the opportunity.
The producer, 36, said it had given the company another chance to stage its critically acclaimed show, about a murderous barber whose victims are turned into filling for meat pies.
“Harrington’s have got the builders in so we will be taking the pie and mash shop with us up west,” she said.
The move will nearly double audience capacity but only from 36 a performance to 69. “We were keen to keep it small,” Ms Edwards added.
Sir Cameron is offering the space but has raised none of the money. “Rachel is as sharp as a tack,” he said. “It’s wonderful that we can have a whole new generation of producers who think out of the box and do something different.”
The production, which stars Jeremy Secomb as Sweeney Todd and Siobhan McCarthy as his accomplice Mrs Lovett, will run at the same time as English National Opera have Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson singing Sweeney Todd in the giant space of the Coliseum.
“It will be little and large,” Sir Cameron said.
Tooting Arts Club’s Sweeney Tood will be at 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue from March 12 to May 16.
Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent, London Evening Standard