York theatre renovated in time for ‘perfect’ musical show

The cast of Assassins
26 Jul 2016 @ 1.09 pm
| Community news

The newly-renovated space looks amazing as it is taken over by Assassins. Photographs: Pick Me Up Theatre / Matthew Kitchen Photography
The newly-renovated space looks amazing as it is taken over by Assassins. Photographs: Pick Me Up Theatre / Matthew Kitchen Photography
The cast and crew of Pick Me Up Theatre have been hard at work renovating and decorating the John Cooper Studio theatre on Monkgate in York.

The team has been painting, scraping and removing old panels – including one covering a stunning stained glass rose window.

The renovations were started to create an intimate theatre for Pick Me Up’s summer double bill of Sondheim musicals – Assassins and Sweeney Todd.

Director Robert Readman said all the effort has been worthwhile as No 41 is transformed and has become the perfect setting for both shows.

“We have set up new lighting systems, moved the seating and built a brand new stage,” he said.

“If anyone knows the exquisite Menier Chocolate Factory in London – that is the feel we have gone for.

“We are so excited about this project and everyone has pulled together from technical crew to cast principals. I couldn’t be more pleased!”

Two new shows

The cast of Assassins
The cast of Assassins

The first show – Assassins – tells the story of the people who tried or succeeded in shooting US Presidents, from John Wilkes Booth who killed Abraham Lincoln, to Lee Harvey Oswald who shot JF Kennedy.

When asked to pick a favourite of all his wonderful shows, Stephen Sondheim says Assassins is the one he feels is closest to “perfect”.

The critically-acclaimed show is compelling and thrillingly entertaining, using music and songs to match the era of each dramatic event. It is on at the theatre from July 22-30.

The second show is more well-known and tells the tale of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It’s brutal, it’s macabre, it’s full of black humour – and it’s proved one of Stephen Sondheim’s biggest hits.

Sweeney returns to London from prison in Australia after serving his time on a trumped-up charge. He is bent on revenge against those who separated him from his beloved wife and child.

He meets Mrs Lovett, who owns a shop selling “the worst pies in London.” Sweeney sets up his barber business above the dodgy baker’s shop and the two hit on the idea of turning his clients into ingredients for Mrs Lovett’s meat pies…

Sweeney Todd is at the John Cooper Studio Theatre from August 5-13.

Check out Pick Me Up’s website for more details and tickets. You can also buy seats at the Theatre Royal Box Office or call them on 01904 623568.