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New Zealand teens hospitalized after necks cut during school production of ‘Sweeney Todd’


New Zealand teens hospitalized after necks cut during school production of ‘Sweeney Todd’

Most people are familiar with the ballad of Sweeney Todd, told famously in Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 Tony Award-winning musical. A vengeful barber teams up with an equally macabre baker to turn his customers into meat pies; blood and gore and lively madness ensues.

Students at Saint Kentigern College, a private school in Auckland, New Zealand, were determined to do right by this tale in a musical production this week. The head of the school, Steve Cole, told TVNZ that they wanted to make the show “as realistic as possible.”

So realistic that some real blood was shed on stage.

Two 16-year-old students’ necks were cut with a prop during an opening night scene earlier this week, leading to their hospitalization. The actors were mimicking Sweeney Todd’s murder method of choice: slitting his unsuspecting customers’ throats.

The students’ fates were fortunately less dire. They have both been discharged from the hospital and are in stable condition, though one suffered serious injuries.

Speaking to radio station Newstalk ZB, Cole said the cause of the incident was a real cut-throat razor that had been wrapped with duct tape and cellophane, “bound in all sorts of things.”

“It was very non-sharp, blunted, and had been through all sorts of health and safety checks,” said Cole, who was perplexed by how it all happened. “It was a very unfortunate mishap.”

The razor was used at eight dress rehearsals in January without incident, the New Zealand Herald reported.

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