Oh My WHAHHHH!!! I know you have all been patiently waiting for my review of my Sweeney Todd CD, but I thought I'd wait until I saw the show, which is still touring around England. So I went tonight with Lisa and Alison. OMG!! WOW!! It was incredible! If you would have told me: okay, so we're going to have people pouring blood into buckets to symbolise death, and in the second act instead of a real barber's chair we're going to have a small child's coffin, oh, and the Judge and the Beadle are going to go out for a pint and a trumpet duet and by the way, do you mind if Toby treats his violin like a teddy bear? It was incredible. I mean, really. I know it sounds weird--instead of having Anthony and Joanna running crazily across the stage frantically trying to "escape" from the guards of the lunatic asylum, they sit down and have a cello duet. (KT! YOU can play Joanna!) For example: at the end of the show, you need a body for Sweeney to cry and have angst over, but once he recognises her, she's just a prop. So why not have her get up and play the clarinet? Some of the singing was a little off-key--the guy playing Sweeney was a TV personality from the 80s, but the show was so CREEPY so WELL PLAYED. There was a point where Antony was playing piano, and then he had to jump up and run into a scene and Toby was right there to jump onto the piano and keep it going. The sheer blocking of the props and instruments was incredible. The only set piece was a black wooden coffin on a pair of saw horses that got moved around and adjusted so it became a table, Sweeney's parlor... I know it sounds really weird and odd, but the effect was overwhelming creepiness and horror at this world--what the whole intention of the show was, right?
So the CD is of course a record of the show, but it doesn't do it justice--the live show REALLY shows the advantage of having people playing their own instruments. Practically the whole reason why I bought the CD was Michael Cerveris, of course, and he does not disappoint--he's got that smoky baritone that I first fell in love with on "Assassins." And of course you can understand all the words--during the show Sweeney's breakdown meant we lost a few important lyrics. So: Definitely buy the album, but GO SEE THE SHOW BECAUSE I CAN'T DESCRIBE HOW COOL IT WAS.
Riding home after the show I was leafing through the program and we were all chatting loudly about our favourite parts. (which caused a few raised eyebrows: "Remember when he sliced up Mrs. Lovett? Damn!") I was reading about the real Sweeney Todd and I piped up: "Wow, 1801! That's when Nelson was around!" thereby neatly colliding the things I'm currently interested in, and Alison, without missing a beat said: "Maybe that's what happened to his arm!" At which point I collasped in laughter. Could you imagine? Scene: Nelson patting his face with his left hand: "Wow, that was a really good shave! I'm going to have to remember this guy...hey, wait a second. What the hell--?!" hahahahaha.
So that's Sweeney, signed and delivered. Can't promise I won't write any more about it, but maybe not for a while. Tomorrow I'm going down to Portsmouth...to visit Nelson's ship. :)