Fri, Apr 07, 2017 - Page 6 News List

School atones for musical accident

AFP, WELLINGTON

A New Zealand school yesterday finally apologized one year after a near-fatal mishap in which the throats of two students were sliced open during a production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The accident occurred in April last year when two 16-year-old boys were injured while performing in the musical about a murderous barber who slits his victims’ throats.

“During the production, there was a scene in which two characters were being shaved by Sweeney Todd,” workplace safety watchdog WorkSafe New Zealand said late on Wednesday. “After being shaved, there was a simulation of these characters having their throats cut.”

However, the blood-curling scene became all-too real when the razor wielded by Sweeney Todd cut the teens’ throats and they were rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Auckland’s exclusive Saint Kentigern College said at the time that a prop — a genuine straight razor with its edge covered by tape — malfunctioned during the performance.

WorkSafe found the school was at fault, but decided not to prosecute, describing the circumstances as “specific and narrow.”

Instead it ordered the school to apologize and make amends to the affected students, including an unspecified payment.

It listed the victims as both injured students and the teen playing Sweeney Todd, whose performance as a homicidal maniac went to a new level when he almost killed his two classmates.

The regulator said all three pupils might suffer ongoing psychological and emotional trauma.

Saint Kentigern yesterday issued a statement saying that it was sorry for the mishap and the harm to the families involved.

It also apologized for initially playing down the seriousness of the incident when it became public.

“The injuries were not minor. The injuries were significant and life-threatening,” it said.

The Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd is the story of a revenge-crazed London barber whose victims are killed then cooked into meat pies.

Saint Kentigern did not stage a repeat performance this year.

According to the school’s Facebook page, it instead opted for Les Miserables, which has a significantly lower body count.

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