Sweeney Todd Show – Pinjarra

It’s Sweet Noir but it’s on the Stage!

It’s good to stop writing the stuff and go see something that’s been written!

Sweeney returns from a long and bleak sea voyage in a darkened state of mind to return to Fleet Street, London, to exact revenge on the judge who sentenced him, raped his wife, took away their baby-child, ruined his life and sent him mad in isolation.

As a barber, he was the best shaver in his craft. As a newly razed demon, razor blades and throats gather in his humble establishment to meet with dire and bloody consequences. The dead men become the filling in pies for a lovable old lady who has a disreputable establishment in the shop below Todd’s. Everyone smiles and dances to the successes of Mrs Lovett’s tasty treats while the menace above broods and waits for the moment to take down the one he really wants in his barber’s chair, the judge.

Eventually everyone gets cut down or loses out, including our demon barber. There are no winners here.

It’s a bleak outlook on London life through the eyes of Sweeney Todd. It’s music is peppered in flats and discordant minor chords to add even more gloom to the doom. If you’re a lover of happy endings in theatre, Sweeney’s not the one to watch. Every version of the show, no matter who directs it, ends the very same way. Wishing for rainbows, heros and a reasonable-cuppensence doesn’t bode well. Hope is a lonely soul in any Sweeney audience.

As a writer of noir, I like the script a lot. The stark contrasts between the moral righteousness of the wealthy, the law which protects it, and the simple survival of the poor doing the best they can, show up well in this story. A man is wrongly accused by people who believe that they know better. His future is stolen and natural consequences turn a good man into a very bad one. Sometimes there is just no turning back and undoing what can’t be undone.

There is also the special relationship he has with his razors. They have a life of their own.

My books go a similar way.

Anyhow, good on you guys for a job well done!

-Michael

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