Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Earlier in the year, for my birthday in fact, Mister M took me to the Abbey to see Julius Caesar and we were so pissed off with the whole experience that we left at the interval. There were three reasons for this.
1) People in the theatre were talking along with the famous bits
2) The acting was poor to shouty. There was none of the seemingly relaxed, conversational style of Shakespeare acting that we had witnessed in Anto and Cleo in February
3) The seats were deathly uncomfortable, even allowing for our noble girth. I, a woman with notoriously short legs (just ask my tailor), was jabbed in the knee by the girl in the seat in front of me every time she reached for her mobile phone, which was every five minutes

I put it down to a poor production and thought no more about it (well, you know, except to complain loudly at every opportunity).

But last week we went to see Sweeney Todd in the Gate, and I was reminded of nothing so much as the time we went to see the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society do Guys and Dolls about 25 years ago. The acting was, well... Anita Reeves was very good as Mrs. Lovett, and Barry McGovern was excellently creepy as the judge. The juvenile leads were sorely lacking any kind of appeal or lung power, however, and Sweeney himself was a little too shouty and not enough singy for me.

Moreover, the whole thing just kind of smacked of not quite enough attention to sound quality, which is not fair when you're putting on a musical, especially one that hasn't got a lot of dialogue in it, so you kind of need to be able to hear the words of the songs in order to follow the plot. Don't get me wrong. It was very enjoyable, a good time was had by all, the show is great and rollicks along like, I don't know, some sort of bloodthirsty child in a fairground, and even the enormous school group managed to stay quiet most of the time, even if the ones near us did continue to hit each other for a very long time after the show started. Still though, the tickets were €35 each, and the scrapey violins did sometimes drown out the singing, something I don't expect. And the chorus' lyrics could never be made out. And there just weren't enough of them to make a big, threatening sound and a bustling street scene. I don't know, maybe I'm too demanding, but I kind of expect proper, good professionals for that kind of money.


Columbo said...

I left halfway through. I don't like musicals though--was there under duress.

Ammonite said...

I love musicals, but this sounded distinctly lackluster.

The Vagina Monologues has finally (fannyly?) yakked its way here. I am underwhelmed.