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Posts made on Monday, December 24th, 2007

I hope he got his money back

Posted by Chris Jones
On December 24th, 2007 at 15:03

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Becky and I went to see Sweeney Todd at a downtown cinema last night. It was more gory than the PBS broadcast of Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street that we’d seen while in college: the blood in the opening credits should have been a clue to the audience.

After the first throat was slit, half the audience was witness to someone rising from his seat and rushing up an aisle to quickly exit the theater. Becky and I were amused at this.

The scenes of murder had surprising impact considering how violent imagery and actions are immured in our entertainment. The gushing, spurting blood caused audience reaction, and when the corpse fell onto its head, breaking the neck, the audience reacted again. Empathy with the body? Disgust at the action or the blood? Fear? Adrenaline? In any case, there was a quite strong, visceral reaction.

The roughly two-hour adaptation kept quite a bit of Sondheim’s lyrical humor, Depp was a great Sweeney Todd (on par with George Hearn), and I feel that Helena Bonham Carter was a much stronger Mrs. Lovett than Angela Lansbury’s version.

There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren’t worth what a pin can spit
and it goes by the name of London.