Saturday, August 18, 2007

Theatre: "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

I saw this performed onstage in the Gate Theatre. I became interested in Sweeney Todd some twenty years ago, so it was great to finally see it. As you may be aware, this is the Stephen Sondheim musical theatre piece about a barber who cuts people's throats and then has the bodies turned into pies. The play has a Gothic cast to it, with Todd being primarily motivated by revenge, and the main villain being a corrupt judge driven by base sexual lusts. It all reminds me of The Crow, particularly the stage version of it that I saw once years back. It was also somewhat reminiscent of the award-winning production of Titus Andronicus they had in the Project a while back; this is not so surprising, as they were both directed by Selina Cartmell.

The songs are great too, and it's nice that they keep doing the best one over and over again. The stage set was a thing of wonder… Todd appearing out of the floor got me every time.

The dark humour in this is pretty chortlesome. I particularly liked the way Todd manages to despatch a succession of ridiculously maned victims for crimes against hair. Maybe the guy from Betamax Format should pay him a visit? It is not all roffles, though, and the play does end with the kind of totally emo ohmigod nooooooo ending you more usually get in opera (or Crisis on Infinite Earths).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to see this. It was playing at a good theatre in San Francisco just as I was leaving. I'm sure some rinky dink theatre company will do it here at some point soon.