I was lucky enough to see Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street live on stage. It was after I had already seen the movie, directed by Tim Burton. I really enjoyed it, and when I was on a business trip I decided to stop by and catch it. It wasn’t on Broadway, but it was close enough for me. I had a blast, and I had also enjoyed hearing the songs in full. The ones in the film are good, but they are not as long and detailed as the originals. The stage production is always better, I feel, since it is live. This is part of what I love about stage and theater. When a different kind of artist creates something, say a painting or some kind of glass art, it is there. People can then see it, observe it, and experience it. But with something like a stage production, there is a certain one-timeness to it. Even if we are talking about a show that is one for 200 nights in a row, not a single one of them will be exactly like the other 199. Each is different in some way. Each is a creation unto itself, a standalone work. And this is why stage and theatre are so awesome to me: that kind of work has an element of magic to it which other kinds of art do not possess.
Some people didn’t enjoy the fact that the show had no British accents, but I think that for a medium-sized production like the one I witnessed, it was executed very well. The accents are hard to do, that is the truth. Even if you have a knack for accents, and even if you rehearse a lot, it can still be a tough one to pull off. English accents, particularly the ones in Sweeny Todd, can be difficult to emulate.
I had wanted to watch that on stage for a while. It isn’t that this one is so much more amazing than other shows, but I love the irony, the songs, the bloodlust. I mean, come on, using human meat for pies? Love it. Whether it is Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Helena Bonham-Carter, or the name of the actress who at the show I saw – they are all great.
The way to enjoy a night out at the theatre is to not compare it to other performances. Sometimes I can pull that off, and sometimes I can’t.