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The worst pies in London! Speaking to Mrs Lovett, aka Rebecca Jillings

We had a gruesome chat with one of the worst bakers in London, Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd, otherwise known as Rebecca Jillings!


  • Musicals

We got to the meaty filling with Rebecca Jillings, who is playing the infamous pie-maker Mrs Lovett in local theatre company Threshold Theatre Company’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 

How did you get involved with Threshold Theatre Company? 

I auditioned for Little Shop of Horrors back in 2012 – I can’t believe it was that long ago! I auditioned with a friend who encouraged me to go with her to audition for some Norwich-based theatre companies after doing a few shows locally together with the Pulham Players – so thanks for suggesting we audition, Daisy!  

Tell us a bit about the show. 

Many will know the show, or at least the story, due to the popularity of this musical and the film adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter.  

It follows the story of a jaded barber (Todd) and his journey to seek vengeance from those who wronged him in the past. Mrs Lovett recognises Todd from the past and uses this to her advantage throughout the show, trying to win his affection and upgrade her social status.   

The show has a multitude of interconnecting storylines and musical echoes – it’s Sondheim’s darkest musical, and the score certainly reflects that, being full of atmosphere and tragedy. 

Sweeney Todd has had so many versions over the years. Is there anything different about your version? 

Ours is set in “post-blitz” London; therefore not how it is traditionally depicted, bringing a fresh interpretation to the stage! 

What is your favourite song in the show? 

A Little Priest has to be my favourite overall, I think, and maybe By The Sea! But there are so, so many great songs in the show it really is hard to choose. I also love the various Ballads of Sweeney Todd and The Letter performed by the company, as the harmonies are amazing! 

What has been your favourite moment in rehearsals? 

We have all had such a great time rehearsing, it’s a really friendly bunch and everyone gets on well. But I think my favourite moment so far has to be the first time we ran the show from start to finish as it’s always exciting to see it starting to come together and to get to see your fellow cast members shine – we really can’t wait for you all to see it! 

How excited are you to perform at the Playhouse? 

I am thrilled to be back at the Playhouse, it is one of my favourite theatres to perform at locally and really feels like home. We are so lucky to have such a fabulous theatre on our doorstep. 

Will you be sick of pies at the end of the run? 

Can anyone ever be sick of pies? To be honest, I don’t actually eat pies very often, so it’s no surprise Mrs Lovett is not all that good at making them! 

Do you have any pre-show rituals? 

I really don’t, actually; I think I’m pretty laid back in the dressing room… just sort of rock up, put my makeup on, make a cup of tea and get ready to go! Oh, and I often have a bottle of Coke as a little sugar hit to get me through the show!  

Dressing rooms are always a fun place to be as there are lots of differing “rituals” within the cast, from steaming their vocal cords to ensuring they are in fine voice! Having their stations immaculately set up without an item out of place, wanting to sit in silence to focus or sometimes just a total ball of energy waiting to get out there!  

The barber will see you at Norwich Theatre Playhouse between 14 – 18 May … if you dare!