Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sweeney Todd

Author: Alex
Location: Washington State

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Dan Futterman
Music & Lyrics by Steven Sondheim

Principal Cast:

Kevin Kline (Sweeney Todd)
Patti LuPone (Mrs. Lovett)
Christopher Lee (Judge Turpin)
Harry Connick, Jr. (Tobias)
Alfred Molina (The Beadle)
Alan Cumming (Pirelli)
Jeremy Irons (Jonas Fogg)
Gerard Butler (Anthony)
Zoey Deschanel (Johanna)
Meryl Streep (Beggar Woman)

Tagline: "Swing your razor high, Sweeney!"

Synopsis: Benjamin Barker, a skilled barber with a lovely wife who is pregnant with their child, suddenly loses everything. He is sent away on a trumped-up charge to prison at Botany Bay, by the nefarious Judge Turpin (Christopher Lee), who has designs on his wife. Fast-forward some years later, when Benjamin escapes with help from the steadfast friendly sailor Anthony Hope (Patrick Wilson). Returning to London and taking the name Sweeney Todd (Kevin Kline), he seeks to find out what has happened to his family. Mrs. Nellie Lovett (Patti LuPone), the widow who ran the bakery downstairs from Barker's shop, (and always had a crush on him), tells him of their horrible fate, which sends Todd over the edge into madness, consumed by the thirst for revenge against the Judge. Ever-practical, with the possibility of murder and mayhem afoot, Mrs. Lovett thinks of a fiendishly clever way that they can both make a killing...literally.

What the press would say:

When casting was announced, I admit that I was worried. I love this show and worried that the rethinking would diminish it somehow. Wow, was I wrong. The truth is that this is an excellent cast. The performances are magnificent, from beginning to Some or the performances may seem over-the-top or possibly stoic, but that's because you are not getting them in the venue for which they were intended. Although I am not always a LuPone fan, I thoroughly enjoyed her performance here---deliberate, scheming, and self-involved. Almost the complete opposite of Lansbury's interpretation, but equally entertaining. Kevin Kline, in my opinion is wonderful as, but he captured the character beautifully. To me, Hearn is still the best, but Kline is outstanding. My favorite performance in this film is by Harry Connick, Jr. His Tobias is heartbreaking and his voice is so perfectly suited for the role. This is, by far, my favorite performance of “Not While I'm Around”. The orchestrations are amazing. My fear was that the chilling aspects would be missing with the reduced scale---not so.

Instead, what we get is this underlying eeriness that keeps the listener unsettled throughout the show. The music constantly moves forward by filling you with dread over what will happen next. If you love Sweeney and can get over the fact that this version is different from earlier versions, then go see it. It's well worth it.

Best Picture
Best Director: Tarantino
Best Actor: Kline
Best Actress: LuPone
Best Supporting Actor: Lee
Best Supporting Actor: Connick, Jr.
Best Supporting Actor: Molina
Best Supporting Actor: Cumming
Best Supporting Actor: Irons
Best Supporting Actor: Butler
Best Supporting Actress: Deschanel
Best Supporting Actress: Streep
Best Adapted Screenplay: Futterman
Best Score: Sondheim

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