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Sweeney Todd Horror As High School Show Results In Hospitalisation Of Two New Zealand Teens For Razor Neck Cuts

'It was deemed important to make it as realistic as possible'

07/04/2016 08:45

Two boys were taken to hospital after suffering neck wounds from a razor during an opening night performance of Sweeney Todd at a New Zealand school. 

The musical, by Stephen Sondheim, features a barber who murders his customers by slitting their throats using cut-throat razors, before selling their remains to a pie shop.

The BBC reported the two victims, who were both 16, were in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital, and that one of them had been more seriously injured. 

Patrick Riviere via Getty Images
Two boys were taken to hospital after suffering neck wounds from a razor during an opening night performance of Sweeney Todd at a New Zealand school (other performers pictured)

However, the New Zealand Herald quoted the head of the school involved, Saint Kentigern College's Steve Cole, as saying he understood the teenagers had been discharged and were doing well. 

Police are investigating the incident, but are said to be treating it as an accident, according to local media reports. New Zealand health and safety regulators are also said to have launched an investigation. 

Cole said the "unfortunate" incident happened halfway through the performance's second act and involved a razor that had  been blunted and wrapped in several protective layers.

Patrick Riviere via Getty Images
The razor involved 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, Cole told the Herald. 

"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."

Cole said in hindsight it may have been a better idea to eliminate all risk, but said the drama students involved had been adamant the play look at authentic as possible.

"It was chosen because of the very nature of the talented young men and women we have in year 12 and 13 who wanted something that would push their skills and the boundaries, he said.

"It was deemed important to make it as realistic as possible."

Cole said the scene involving the razor had been performed "many times" since January, including eight dress rehearsals where the prop was used.

When asked how two boys ended up with the cuts on the sides of their necks he said he had "no idea". 

Listen to the head of Saint Kentigern College's Steve Cole being interviewed here

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