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A look at SWEENEY TODD from the Theatre Crowd... Did he hate it?

Hey folks, Harry here... you know my love for SWEENEY TODD... well, here we have a look from the great white way and how did it go with the grease paint types? Well here is one for your perusal... Enjoy...

Harry, I thought this might be of interest to you. A stage geek's take on one of the most revered musicals in the canon. For those of us who work in the lower levels of musical theatre, it's been a good week. Our labor strike was just resolved, we're all back at work, and a few hundred of us got to see an interesting movie last night; Sweeney Todd. The screening was hosted by Stephen Sondheim. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were also in attendance. This being a New York theatre crowd, they applauded and stood for Sondheim, but remained seated for Burton and Depp. Sondheim gave a little welcoming speech and a small warning. What we were about to see, he told us, was not the stage musical we all knew by heart, but a movie. If we were to enjoy it, we needed to put the stage show out of our minds. I'm not sure that was entirely possible. In that room, anyway, which was packed with theatre community types. Burton and Depp didn't really say anything. They just waved. Later Burton hugged Sondheim and shouted out to us, "If you hate it, it's our (his and Depp's) fault!" Sondheim was right, It's not a film of the stage musical. It is an entirely new beast. And for this, I am thankful. Unlike the movies of RENT, DREAMGIRLS, THE PRODUCERS, PHANTOM, HAIRSPRAY and even CHICAGO, this is as much a director's film (and triumph) as it is a version of a beloved stage musical. It's a hushed, beautiful film for the most part. But when it roars, it's deafening. And chill-inducing. None of this is to suggest that it isn't true to its source. The "Ballads" are all gone, as is "Kiss Me." A few inner snips aside, that's about it. But Burton here has gone beyond a filmed stage musical. He's created a movie operetta of sorts. If you didn't know the piece, you might almost believe it had been written for the cinema. Depp is exquisite. Bonham-Carter will split the theatre crowd. Her acting is deliciously low-key, but her unsupported singing voice doesn't really match her speaking voice. That said, in the end, hers might be the most haunting performance in this movie. Rickman, Spall, Cohen, and everyone else are superb. The design is breathtaking. The cinematography is sumptuous. And the music! You think you liked the music before? Wait. Bravo, Mr. Tunick. I've been a Tim Burton fan since Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. But he's hurled himself to a new level with this one. And in the process, he's shown the way in making movie musicals. By grafting his distinctive visual style and storytelling technique to a bolt-solid musical, he has transformed both the art and the artist. This is a new Sweeney Todd. His best movie since Ed Wood, and the best movie musical since Little Shop Of Horrors. So go. See it. Leave behind your preconceptions, if that's possible. Enjoy it for the wonderful film it is. I'll be there opening day to see it again. Tophertilson
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