Actors’ necks cut in ‘Sweeney Todd’ production at NZ school

The audience at the “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” production at the Saint Kentigern College had a surprise scare after two of the actors encountered a bloody mishap on stage.

The school, which is a private school in Auckland, did a production of Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 Tony Award-winning musical.

During one scene where Sweeney Todd did his murder method of slitting throats, two boys had their necks accidentally slit by a prop knife.

According to St Kentigern College head Steve Cole, the prop razor had been blunted and wrapped in protective layers. “It’s normal for Sweeney Todd to have such an instrument [and it] clearly had been checked many, many times.”

He added: “It has been bound and cellophaned and all sorts of things. It had been blunted and had been through all sorts of health and safety checks. It was a very unfortunate mistake.”

Perplexed, Mr Cole said that the scene was performed may times prior to the show. When asked how the two boys ended up with their necks cut, he could only say: “I’ve got no idea. I’ve got no idea.”

“It was a razor that you would expect to see in a production of Sweeney Todd. But it didn’t have a sharp edge. I’m very confident that the health and safety situation was strong,” he said.

The two boys were brought to the hospital and have been discharged from the hospital.

An audience member said that they had no idea that there had been an accident on stage. “No announcements were made to the audience that the throat slitting was not all just ‘fake blood’, the show went on, we never knew anything about the real blood being spilt until later.”

“It is terribly sad what has happened. It’s a great show and I’d hate to see anything bad overshadow the quality of the show,” the audience member added.

Police and safety officials are conducting investigations.