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SWEENEY TODD with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton 
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Post Re: SWEENEY TODD with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton
Hans wrote:
I think those things are, like everything else she does, just whims. They do not represent real affections. Like having flowers and a musical instrument, having a child to care for is cosy to her.

I find it odd to explain away such a clear pattern as whims. It's like having someone who loves Rossetti, Millais and Ford Madox Brown: "Oh, so he's a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites?" "Nah, it's just caprice." While of course you could be right, it seems deliberately contrary.

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She is the character that stands by her man no matter how badly he behaves, because she really loves him unconditionally, because her sort of love is focused on him and she erases her own wellbeing. Lovett's affection is unconcerned with Sweeney's feelings, because it is focused on her own wellbeing. It's as if she doesn't register his grief for his lost wife, and to the extent she does, it's mostly an annoying detail, since she wants him no matter what.

Yeah I disagree. I think it's reductive of the character and the writing to suggest that she's wholly self-interested and solipsistic. I suppose I have more faith in her as a person than that.

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I don't think we can agree on this, because our reading of the play is so fundamentally different. But I really enjoy the argument.

I agree!

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:32 am
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Post Re: SWEENEY TODD with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton
Felix Felicis wrote:
I find it odd to explain away such a clear pattern as whims.


I'm not explaining it away. Quite contrary, the whimsical nature of Lovett os very consistently written. But since she has no moral backbone, her whims are very dangerous.

Felix Felicis wrote:
I think it's reductive of the character and the writing to suggest that she's wholly self-interested and solipsistic. I suppose I have more faith in her as a person than that.


Well, I think it's your interpretation that reduces her to an albeit many-layered, yet regular musical theatre character. It's my interpretation that challenges the usual division between good and bad that is easy to handle.

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:52 pm
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Post Re: SWEENEY TODD with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton
Just saw this yesterday!

Imelda Staunton was fabulous! I have nothing bad to say about her performance at all! Michael Ball was pretty good as Sweeney, although his all too famous voice sometimes made me fall out of his character. The guy who played Toby was great, so was Johanna! Judge Turpin had sort of a weak voice, but his acting was good enough that it didn't bother me much. The Beadle did not appear to be a singer. He had a weak voice which reminded me of the movie version. We had an understudy as Pirelli who was quite good, but I missed the Operatic C at the end of the Contest. Then we have Anthony. Who was horrible. He played the character as a young lad who had no concern in the world and he sang it like a twelve year old. One could hardly hear his voice over the orchestra, and in Kiss Me one couldn't hear a single line of his.

But besides Anthony the cast was great and it was one of the best theatrical experiences I've ever had.

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Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:04 am
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Post Re: SWEENEY TODD with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton
I saw the production

The bottom line is that it's called 'Sweeney Todd' not 'Mrs Lovett'

You cannot have someone with the calibre of Imelda Staunton (who was perfect in the role btw) without a male counterpart of equal prominence (not necessarily acting talent). I don't think anyone would say Michael is a better actor than Imelda but he has an olivier award or so under his belt for Hairspray. He knows how revered she is. I mean all this in terms of marketing etc. How many singing men of that age (awards and fame wise) are around in the world of musical theatre?

Moreover, I'm sure Michael Ball had something to do with this. He wanted a go at Sweeney and how can he be refused? To get bums on seats, there's hoards of middle aged michael lovers who would roll up.

He was better than I thought he'd be. He really was

He was truly in her shadow though, they weren't a great match

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