Thanks to Brynn Paulin‘s husband, bless his awesome, awesome soul, I found myself last night squashed into a packed theatre beside Cheryl Sterling, Bronwyn Green and Brynn, watching Sweeney Todd two weeks before it hits the big screen.
I must, at this point, explain that this will not be a fair and objective review. This review will be handled by rabid Sondheim and Sweeney fan Jennifer “Green Bitch And Critical Bird” Armintrout, and not by a normal, sane human being who saw a movie.
[insert fire truck noises and running around the room in an endless loop]. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. After all the horror I experienced reading about the production of the movie– rumors that ranged everywhere from “they’re cutting the ballad” to “that dude from Oingo Boingo that Tim Burton likes so much is completely redoing the orchestrations”– I could not be more relieved at the end product.
First of all, yes. They did cut the ballad. Or, more accurately, they cut the lyrics. The music is still very much there, interspersed throughout the movie. Some other cuts they made, that, if I had known of them before going to the movie would have enraged me, were most of the beggar woman’s “Alms” refrains, “Kiss Me,” and a huge chunk of the Wigmaker Sequence, which basically boiled down to Sweeney telling Anthony to go pretend to be a wigmaker, which he does. A few lines and lyrics were changed here and there, and strangely the harmony and melody to the choruses of “A Little Priest” is changed up, but it all WORKS. It makes no sense at all, but the leads are clearly non-singers, the cuts made should be considered heresy, and the blood is orangey and fake. BUT IT WORKS.
Please, if you’re avoiding seeing this because you love the play, please, go and see it anyway. It truly was a worthy adaptation.