Saturday, 7 July 2007

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd



"Rest now, my friends.
Soon, I'll unfold you.
Soon you'll know splendours
You never have dreamed
All your days,
My lucky friends
'Til now your shine was merely silver.
Friends, you shall drip rubies, you'll soon drip precious rubies...
AT LAST! MY RIGHT ARM IS COMPLETE AGAIN!"


Possibly the only musical ever written that contains a love song to a box of knives, Sweeney Todd is Stephen Sondheim's darkest work.



With nods to Bertolt Brecht and his Threepenny Opera, this is a musical not for the faint-hearted, especially in its rendition by Bryn Terfel, Maria Friedman and the brilliant cast at the Royal Festival Hall last night!

With his booming voice and commanding stature, Bryn was a truly chilling Sweeney, and Maria Friedman the perfect foil as the cunning and darkly comic Mrs Lovett - each playing to each other's passions, his for murder and revenge, hers for making a profit (a killing?) from making pies out of dead men's flesh.

Suffering slightly from the terrible acoustics (where did they spend all that money when the RFH was refurbished?) and awkward staging, it was still a truly magnificent and spine-tingling evening. A performance that even the uber-talented Johnny Depp is going to struggle to emulate in the forthcoming film version of the musical!

But regardless of any version, one song from Sweeney Todd remains one of the greatest Sondheim ever wrote:

Not While I'm Around
Nothing's gonna harm you, not while I'm around.
Nothing's gonna harm you, no sir, not while I'm around.

Demons are prowling everywhere, nowadays,
I'll send 'em howling,
I don't care, I got ways.

No one's gonna hurt you,
No one's gonna dare.
Others can desert you,
Not to worry, whistle, I'll be there.

Demons'll charm you with a smile, for a while,
But in time...
Nothing can harm you
Not while I'm around...

Being close and being clever
Ain't like being true
I don't need to,
I would never hide a thing from you,
Like some...

No one's gonna hurt you, no one's gonna dare
Others can desert you,
Not to worry, whistle, I'll be there!
Demons'll charm you with a smile, for a while
But in time...
Nothing can harm you
Not while I'm around...


Cleo Laine singing this song:


Josh Groban (who?) singing this song (very well actually):


Fab.

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