Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton impressed the critics in a Stephen Sondheim revival which had good-to-fair reviews at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2011 and which looks set to rake in a large audience when it transfers to the West End for a limited 2012 season. Imelda Staunton is one of the funniest women in Britain and has a talent for lascivious malice that makes her dream casting for creepy Queen of Pies, Mrs Lovett. And Michael Ball, who rose to such ample comical-musical heights in hit US import ‘Hairspray’ that he overturned all Time Out’s prejudices, is apparently a revelation as Sweeney Todd. Director Jonathan Kent has updated the eponymous Demon Barber – who first appeared in Victorian penny dreadful ‘The String of Pearls’ in 1846 then became a staple of Victorian melodrama – to the 1930s. Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning 1979 musical was also the basis for Tim Burton’s 2007 film ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, which starred Johnny Depp.