We wrap up the week with another Sondheim musical, one that will be getting a bit of attention this holiday season. Soon to be released on the big screen, Sweeney Todd is the story of a London barber who, with the help of friend Mrs. Lovett, turns those he dislikes (and other random Londoners) into meat pies. Yes, it sounds gross, I know, but it is a great (if macabre) story of love and hate, friendship and deception, despair and revenge.
Sweeney Todd was once a young barber in London, and lived happily there with his wife and daughter. As the play begins, however, Todd has just returned to London after being exiled by Judge Turpin. The Judge desired Todd’s wife, and sent Todd to prison to get him out of the way. Todd’s wife, in turn, poisoned herself, and their daughter became a ward of the Judge. Todd is determined to exact revenge, and plans to use his shaving skills to achieve it. Mrs. Lovett devises a plan to dispose of the bodies, and help bolster her meat pie business at the same time. Their plan has disastrous results, but the story of how they carry it out is highly entertaining. So, “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. He served a dark and vengeful god. What happened then, well that’s the play, and he wouldn’t want us to give it away. Not Sweeney. Not Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”