Globe columnist Peter Grant talks to Nick Bagnall who is getting his teeth into a meaty version of Sweeney Todd at the Everyman.

THE pie's the limit. . .

There, I have said it and I don't think Everyman and Playhouse associate director Nick Bagnall will mind.

The ever-affable Nick has himself described his new version of Sweeney Todd as 'dark, macabre but very funny.'

I caught up with Nick for a non-pie lunch where he chewed over the story of a man he believes we as 'a hero.'

"I have wanted to do this play for so, so long. I was so pleased when the rights were available and I got them and now here we are."

He points to the rehearsal room ahead of him with a satisfied smile.

And if the publicity is anything to go by it all looks a mouth-watering treat.

The posters are striking, decidedly horror-styled and have a very cinematic feel.

A quick glance at its two stars staring out at you and you would be forgiven in thinking Hitchcock is coming to Hope Street.

But no, this is 100 per cent Bagnall who has already given us a chilling version of A Clockwork Orange and has directed Robert Farquar's exceptional Peer Gynt-inspired The Big I Am.

He cites those two productions as work he is very proud of to date.

His version of the Conquest of the South Pole in 2017 remains a personal professional highlight.

Sweeney Todd stars EastEnders Kacey Ainsworth, who played Little Mo in the soap.

Here she will be singing one of the show's Many outstanding songs - The worst pie shop in London.

And Everyman Rep stalwart Liam Tobin has 'a fine set of pipes,' according to Nick.

There is also the versatile performer Emma Dears, who local audiences will be familiar with from her roles in the hit drama Twopence to Cross the Mersey and its sequel.

Emma plays the curiously titled Beggar Woman Nick will be working with Everyman favourites Dean Nolan and Paul Duckworth and some actors making their debut.

It is clear Nick has the utmost respect for his assembled team and the feeling is mutual.

There is also musical director Tarek Marchant and Designer Michael Vale on board.

I ask Nick why he so taken with this work often seen in the West End with massive orchestrations and big budgets as well as being a favourite with amateur dramatic companies?

He replied: "I have seen many myself and even one in a London pie shop.

"I see the tale as one of cut-throat vengeance.

"It is gruesome and dangerous and yet full of black humour."

Although he has been used to working with the Everyman's huge Rep - sometimes up to 30 people on stage - this is, by comparison, Sweeney Todd stripped to the bone.

"I have a cast of nine and a band of four. It's in-the-round, which I love.

"I am always aware that Everyman audiences like to become involved in the story - be a part of it," and that's all he is going to share as he genuinely wants to surprise audiences.

He is a huge fan of Steven Sondheim's 'genius' music and this time he is taking an acoustic approach.

As for the terrifying tale ...

"I have been reading Engel's book The condition of the working class in England.

"It is set around the time of Sweeney Todd which was written 150 years ago.

"And yet you only have to look around Liverpool now - the homeless in Bold Street. Food banks ... nothing seems to have changed."

While Sweeney gets up to some appalling bloody crimes Nick wants to redress the balance from the moment the character returns from Australia.

He is a wronged man, thanks to a corrupt judge.

"It is about revenge.

"He was shafted and I see see him not as the villain of the piece.

"To me he is a hero."

There's also the romance - since Mrs Lovett is in love with the demon barber.

And with that plot taster, Nick finished off his lunch and returned to storytelling.

Who knows what will emerge from rehearsals and what the company - individually and collectively - bring to the 'room.'

This musical thriller is already one of the most hotly-anticipated shows of the 2019 season. Blood and guts ... Everyman style.

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is at Liverpool Everyman From April 12 to May 12.

Tickets from 0151 709 4776