HEROES come in all unlikely shapes and sizes.

The Everyman's adaptation of Sweeney Todd presents its audience with two grotesque yet oddly endearing anti-heroes.

It's not often you sit in a theatre rooting for serial killers.

Sweeney Todd has a death-wish violent revenge streak running through his veins - a macabre theme which is the driving force for this dungaree-adorned bitter man.

He seeks out corrupt Judge Turpin (Paul Duckworth) - a law unto himself - who raped his wife Lucy and stole his daughter Johanna (Kezia Joseph).

A saving grace of sorts is lonely, feisty Mrs Lovett (Kacey Ainsworth) whose own pie shop would be shut down by Gordon Ramsey on one of his Hell's Kitchen raids.

Sweeney has served his time in Australia for a crime he didn't do.

He returns to a vile Victorian London where the streets are paved not with gold but with darkness, despair and destitution.

Mercurial Sweeney (Liam Tobin) has only a hold-all for his possessions but plenty of other emotional baggage.

Director Nick Bagnall is razor-sharp when he says Liam has a: "fine set of pipes."

Nick also leads eight other multi-skilled, accomplished actors as well as four first class musicians - three of whom even become supporting players in the action staged in modern dress.

Michael Vale's sparse stark set features what looks like a huge

man-hole cover but it conceals a basement where a very personal pie operation is making a decent crust.

The lighting is spot on creating moods and situations that Alfred Hitchcock would have admired.

When you have a genius of a score by Stephen Sondheim you are on a winner from the outset in this two-hour-50-minute musical thriller.

Mrs Lovett's upbeat song By the Sea is one of many highlights.

Kacey's contrast and chemistry with Liam is a joy to see. She lights up the gloom in every scene she appears in.

There's smatterings of gallows humour and a wonderfully wacky interpretation of the con man Pirelli played by the ever-expressive Dean Nolan.

And there's a touch of the sinister League of Gentlemen series in Beadle Bamford courtesy of Michael Rice-Oxley.

And it's great to see actress and singer Emma Dears given the right platform to show just what she can do as the Beggar Woman.

If you enjoy your storytelling experience in-the-round - Everyman style - then you will know what to expect.

For those who are used to huge orchestral West End versions try and catch this raw, sensitive and yet often soaring production stripped to the bone but brilliantly fleshed out.

Soak up the artistic anarchy, sheer inventiveness and individual and collective talents on display.

In short - you'll Lovett!

Four stars

Piping hot

The production is at the Everyman until May 18