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Mrs. Lovett's Psychological Motivation 
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

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Monsieur D'Arque, I'd say it's not integral to the story. The Marxist perspective enriches the story, but I feel the story as revenge tragedy suffices enough by itself. Sorry for not being clear.


Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:41 am
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le_moofin wrote:
ActingDude17 wrote:
le_moofin wrote:
As for Mrs. Lovett... it may be because I've never had the privilege of seeing Sweeney Todd on stage, but I do prefer HBC's "the ends justify the means" interpretation rather than a "Mrs. Lovett is pure evil, end of story" one. I think it makes her a more interesting character that way.


Actually, HBC's interpretation is my least favorite. Lansbury's has many, many more layers to it and a lot more depth. LuPone's is arguably worse than HBC but with how much the latter let me down in the movie it's hard for me to say that.


I think HBC's interpretation is great... for film, that is. I do agree that onstage her subtle approach wouldn't work at all. I think I kinda posted ambiguously - what I mean is that I prefer an interpretation of Mrs. Lovett that doesn't make her out to be the puppetmaster/pure evil character that was suggested earlier. I think Lansbury's Lovett also shared some of that ruthlessness that I so admire in Lovett (well, not admire but appreciate). I think it's almost a cop-out to say that Mrs. Lovett is pure evil because it simplifies her character so much.


Okay, I think I get what you were trying to say more clearly now. I agree pretty much.

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Young Hoofer
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In the production my theatre group are performing (at the end of the month...yay!) the director discussed with us right at the beginning of rehearsals how she wanted Mrs Lovett to be portrayed. She wants the audience to think that Mrs Lovett is 'the puppet master'.

The way the actress has developed the character does portray this well enough, especially during 'A little Priest' and also in 'Not while I'm around', she displays a certain ammount of well hidden irritation for Toby's protest against Mr Todd.

But i can't deny in this production that she truly and deeply loves Sweeney. Her mannerisms far exceed the haughty, prim and proper air she tries to uphold. I don't know much about Marxist theory or about the philosophers you mention, so I am just posting my opinion based on the particular produciton I am experiencing at the moment.

I did enjoy both Lansbury and HBC in the Lovett role, however I think the character has a large enough scope to be played in many different ways. Personally I felt HBC was a little too softly spoken for my liking. Lansbury played a vulgar, brash Mrs Lovett whereas Debbie, the Lady who I speak of above has chosen to become a more sensible, well spoken(as well spoken as a victorian London pie maker can be) and organised figure. She comes across as completative and calm and genuinely warm towards Todd. Her 'puppet mastery' is for the audience alone.
:D


Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:41 am
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Young Hoofer
Young Hoofer

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I always interpreted Lovett as naive. While I do believe that she is somewhat devious in certain cases, she seems mislead to me. Almost as if she wants to turn back, but she knows there's no use since she and Sweeney have gone so far down a bad path of lies and murder. I always though that after "Epiphany" she was a bit intimidated by Todd, and was just trying to stay on his good side by supporting him and being so playful with him, while trying to remember the man (Benjamin Barker) that she once loved... and replacing the maniacal Sweeney Todd with that image she had in her mind of Benjamin. Also, the fact that she's rather mentally-unstable can't really help the situation. :roll:

I enjoyed Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Lovett the best, due to the fact that she played the character so wacky and insane that you couldn't help but just go along with the fact that she supported Todd's cause so much.

And while many despised Helena Bonham Carter's interpretation, there were some bits and pieces that I actually thought were a good way to play the character. One moment that stuck with me is when she locked Toby in the meat-grinding room she looked so devastated and torn, as if she was doing something that was going to tear her heart apart, and yet she did it anyway.

Lansbury didn't seem the least bit sympathetic when she locked Toby in the meat-grinding room, but I'm not saying that's a negative, I'm just saying that I loved Carter's attitude in that scene more, just because of the way I always imagined Lovett... but I still think Angie plays the part perfectly. =D>

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Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:40 pm
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