This movie is a recorded performance in concert. It all begins when Benjamin Barker( George Hearn), a mysterious,quiet,and subtle barber, returns to his hometown in London after escaping ... See full summary »
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The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
This movie is a recorded performance in concert. It all begins when Benjamin Barker( George Hearn), a mysterious,quiet,and subtle barber, returns to his hometown in London after escaping from a prison in Australia with help from a young sailor named Anthony. Now Sweeney Todd, he returns to his home where he and his wife Lucie and daughter Johanna used to live. When he arrives he meets Mrs. Nellie Lovett(Patti Lupone), a lonely woman who owns a down and out pie shop, and discovers that his wife has poisoned herself and the judge that unfairly punished him is responsible and the judge also has his daughter. So then Sweeney plots his revenge on the judge and his accomplice the Beadle and with help from Mrs. Lovett he re-opens his barber shop and vows to give the judge the closest shave he will ever know and give Mrs. Lovett a tasty new ingredient for her homemade meat pies. Written by
The original Broadway production starring Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou opened at the Uris Theater on February 6, 1979, ran for 557 performances and won the 1979 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score. See more »
You see sir a man infatuate with love, her ardent an eager slave. So fetch the pomade and pumice stone, and lend me a more seductive tone, a sprinkling perhaps of French cologne, but first sir I think... a shave.
The closest I ever gave.
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For me, Sweeney Todd is not just Stephen Sondheim's best musical but also one of the greatest musicals full-stop. Of the 1982 production, the 2007 film and this 2001 concert production, it is difficult to say which is my favourite of the three as all three have so many great merits to them. There is not much to fault at all with here, and it does the score and musical justice. The camera work is choppy in places and while Davis Gaines characterises beautifully and gets much better later on- I do think generally that he has a beautiful and rich voice- he starts very off-pitch(not just slight, this is can't hear the music sort of quality), which wasn't pleasant on the ears, he is also too old I agree for Anthony but that wasn't big enough an issue. The costumes and sets are hugely effective to the atmosphere and the lighting is wholly appropriate to the dark, minimalist look to the visuals. The stage direction has the ability to be witty and harrowing, nothing about it came across as dull and distasteful to me, the chorus are directed quite interestingly but not in a way that jars. The orchestral playing is superb throughout, giving the magnificent score its full impact(Epiphany just made me go wow!), while the chorus are well-blended and involved in the drama. George Hearn is a complete revelation as Sweeney, his voice has lost none of the power it had nineteen years earlier, which helps give Epiphany the power it has, and he is both sympathetic and chilling. Patti Lupone's Mrs Lovett compared to Angela Lansbury is broader and played with a straight deadpan approach, which considering it was Lupone playing to her strengths worked, she doesn't have the best voice- like Gaines she has moments where she is pitchy- but still sings with terrific gusto and character. Timothy Nolen's Judge Turpin is creepy and sinister with a very strong voice, thank goodness that Johanna was included because it adds so much to the character and is just hair-raising here and in any production I imagine that includes it. Neil Patrick Harris is very charming and sings with a very pleasant tone as Toby, while the Johanna of Lisa Vroman is a vast improvement over that of her 1982 counterpart(especially in Green Finch and Linnett Bird, a very difficult song to get right), instead of shrill and strident her voice is clear and vibrant. Victoria Clark is also great as the beggar woman. So overall, a terrific concert production of a musical masterpiece. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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