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1 item from 2014

Sweeney Todd review – a silky, brassy Emma Thompson joins Bryn Terfel's monstrous barber

6 March 2014 10:47 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This mostly pitch-perfect musical from the New York Philharmonic shows why it's time to put proper orchestras behind shows again

Staging musicals as concerts is a tricky business but the New York Philharmonic's production of Sweeney Todd, starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, is an energetic theatrical performance that manages to hit the right notes.

Making her New York stage debut as Mrs Lovett (a role originated by Angela Lansbury), Thompson runs off with the show. Her Mrs Lovett is shrewd, conniving and utterly in control of the operation until the final moments. Her voice is silky one moment, brassy the next; it helps that the role is perfect for an imperfect voice.

Thompson's partner in crime, however, could have asked her for a few acting tips. Terfel's intimidating bass-baritone is perfect for Sweeney Todd, and his 6ft 4in frame conveys menace, but Terfel's Sweeney comes across as a monster not a brute. »

- Kayla Epstein

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