The tale of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street opened with a shriek that sent shivers down my spine.

The macabre tragi-comedy, staged by Brighton-based company the Wandering Minstrels, was based on the legend of a mad 19th-Century English barber driven to crime when his wife and child were taken from him by an evil judge.

Unjustly imprisoned, Todd escaped and vowed to bring justice to the judge, who destroyed his life, and all the people of London.

He formed a partnership with Mrs Lovett, who ran the local pie shop.

As he slashed the throats of his clients, she ground up the carcasses to use as the secret ingredient in her meat pies.

For those who find musicals a bit sickly sweet, Sweeney Todd was the antidote. The fluffiness of the musical was offset by the horrific, amoral plot.

Susan Fleet as Mrs Lovett gave a performance full of humour and energy, while the evil barber himself, played by Mike MacKenzie, was deliciously macabre.

This tale of vengeance and murder featured a top-notch score by Stephen Sondheim played and sung with gusto.