The Horror Honeys: He Served a Dark & a Vengeful God...

He Served a Dark & a Vengeful God...

The Revenge Honey Perspective on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Listen, for those of you that don't already know this, your dark and stabby Revenge Honey has a secret life as a... *sob* theatre nerd. I've spent many an hour, hiding in my room, memorizing the lyrics to Company, fawning over pictures of Idina Menzel and Patrick Stewart, and sticking pins in my Andrew Lloyd Webber voodoo doll. (Seriously... fuck that guy.) I even dreamed of one day becoming an actress on the BROADWAY STAGE! *jazz hands* And what was my dream role, you may ask? Okay, you didn't ask, but fuck you; I'm telling you anyway. It was none other than the illustrious Mrs. Lovett, she of the "meat" pies from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I choose to believe this is where my theatre life and future Revenge Honey life were meant to intersect.
My favorite stage production of Sweeney Todd: Patti LuPone as
Mrs. Lovett & Michael Cerveris as Todd (click for a clip!)

The truth is, revenge has been a theme in theatre and performance since the earliest days of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. For those less inclined to theatre and Greek tragedy, those are the dudes with mommy issues who liked to write about wars and incest. For my money, no one really did revenge better than Shakespeare, as has been covered by the Head Honey and myself, as well as our Guest Honey Lauren. But when it comes to musicals, well: Stephen Sondheim stole my heart when he wrote the songs for the story of Sweeney Todd.

*Revenge Honey Fun Fact: Neil Patrick Harris played Tobi Ragg in Sweeney Todd: In Concert. Watch this clip and you just TRY not to fall in love.

Seriously, let's think about this using Revenge Honey Logic (copyright, trademarked, Horror Honeys): A man is stolen away from family and sent to a miserably dingy English prison for absolutely no reason other than a skeazy judge wants to bang his wife. Then, not only does the wife drive herself mad from a suicide attempt, but the same skeazy judge steals the man's DAUGHTER and tries to fucking MARRY HER INSTEAD. So the man gets some straight razors and starts slitting throats like there is no tomorrow, all with the intention of eventually slitting the throat of the man responsible for his wretched fucking lot in life. Oh, and his accomplice is a crazy witch of a woman who turns dead bodies into meat pies and sells them to unsuspecting town folk, who gobble them up like mad, because apparently people meat is delicious. Based on Revenge Honey Logic, this is, without a doubt, the absolute best story ever in the history of the world.

I'm not usually attracted to Johnny Depp but dayum.
Now you add a kickass songbook to it, written by one of the foremost theatre lyricists in the history of forever? Well... Be still my barely-beating black heart!

Which brings us to the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version that our darling Dark Comedy Honey chose to review this week. I can say with absolute certainty that this is the last collaboration between these two men that yielded anything worthwhile, sadly. Yes, I enjoyed Alice as a spectacle and because it was Alice, but really, Burton and Depp have become back-patting enablers who seem to just spend a lot of time telling each other how awesome they are. Sweeney Todd was the last time they genuinely seemed invested in a subject or truly understood what they were doing. The settings were dark, depressing, and perfect. Depp's voice was beautifully flawed, which was a nice foil to the usual operatic tones of those who play Todd in the productions. Helena Bonham-Carter has the look of Mrs. Lovett if not the voice, and I could think of at least five women off hand who could have done it better, but hey, she's Burton's lady and that carries certain perks.

Seriously. Don't let this guy around your daughters.
And Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin? Well hot damn, that was some inspired fucking casting right there! He looked like Professor Snape's creepy uncle who doesn't get invited to family gatherings because he keeps leering at the children.

I 100% agree with the DCH: the kills in Sweeney Todd are stomach churning, even for the Revenge Honey. It wasn't the throat slitting or the Burton-esque bright red blood, which flowed like water: it was the bone-crunching crashes to floor as the bodies fell into Mrs. Lovett's basement of doom. That sound... that is definitely something you don't get from the stage production.

How much did they pay her? Because I'd do that for free.
So in the end, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd managed to accomplish a rare feet: it satisfied both the theatre gal in me that almost NEVER likes the movie version of classic musicals, as well as the Revenge Honey, who relishes a good straight razor to throat for no discernible reason other than being really pissed off. Even if you don't like musicals, dig down deep and man up because this is a shave worth lining up for.

Revenge Honey Stabby Points: 4 out 5