Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

An exiled barber returns home to London to seek revenge on the malevolent judge who stole his family. After forming a partnership with a wicked pie maker, he resumes business above her shop and sets to carry out his evil plan.  "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is an excellent and macabre rendering of Hugh Wheeler's book, made palatable for the stage by Chtistopher Bond and featuring the deliciously deviant lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. The movie is a filming of the Tony Award winning play in 1982 featuring the original cast. In the leads, George Hearn and especially Angela Lansbury are quite spectacular in whirlwind performances. Along with the rest of a uniformly excellent cast, Hearn and Lansbury sing and dance to fun and often shocking material. Comparing the play to Tim Burton's excellent 2007 film rendition, it is quite a wonder to note how different their performances are from that of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.  "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is a delightfully debauched play and my only complaint is that I didn't watch it performed live.