I must state at the outset that I am not a fan of musicals and I especially struggle with Sondheim’s music. I have also never understood movie musicals. But then Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was made. And it is the entire book, with all the songs.
Big Friendly and I went to see it just before we left Jozi and we were totally blown away. Tim Burton is my favourite director. I first loved Beetle Juice, then Edward Scissorhands; Batman Returns was my favourite Batman. I loved Mars Attacks, Big Fish and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. He is brilliant. And he really knows Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter who are the stars of this extraordinary movie.
The story is very bleak and there is no light or redemption. This is reflected in the unbelievable set and styling. Every frame is a miserable but beautiful work of art. The cast is amazing, and all sing convincingly to portray their characters. There is a cameo by Sacha Baron Cohen that transforms him as far away from Borat as one can believe. Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall are also superb.
You need a cast-iron stomach for the gross pies and bloody murders. London is painted with an even more bleak brush than Dickens and its population is either rich and corrupt or poor and crazy. There is a crane shot in a market and all the vegetables are black or brown.
I was swept up in this production and I think it is a must-see.