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Friday, January 4, 2008

sweeney todd

when i returned to nyc in 1979, after wandering the hinterland of new england prep schools as an english teacher to become a writer for a one person magazine called hosiery and underwear for hbj, i saw sweeney todd on broadway with angela lansbury and len cariou. the story and music were great, but what blew me away was the set. it was elaborate, massive, and astonishing. i'd seen much broadway over the years, but this production knocked me over. it was memorable, to say the least. i missed the revival with patti lapone, and i like her.

now the newest iteration is from tim burton and it is superb. he has catured the essence for me with the setting. it is fabulous and lush. having just returned from a holiday in london, seeing this old london version was special. one other similarity was how the trevor nunn's version of king lear and burton's sweeney todd both begin with the loud, penetrating, ominous organ. absolutely bone chilling and goose bumpy in both shows. now i love johnny depp in everything he has done. reuniting with burton from edward scissorhands makes for a grand reunion. depp is superb as are the entire cast. as the new yorker pointed out, once again a child actor almost steals the show. child actors this past year as the magazine said have had a prominent role in this year's films. i'm only sorry they omitted the actor who played august rush in the movie of the same name. he was one of the best. since i knew the story and many of the songs, i was interested to see how burton would do it. i loved the rickman character, he is always so evil and unlikable. i love him. he is redeeming in love actually. sacha baron cohen was brilliant, funny, and perfectly foppish. i found the scene where todd constructs the chair amazing and magical. it was genius and conjured frankenstein and even scissorhands. the entire production was flawless and enthralling. the applause at the end of the movie always intrigues me and i was finding myself applauding and i never do.

it is good to have burton and depp back together again.

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