The insidious Fleet Street barber slit his first throat in an 1846 "penny dreadful," one of those gaudy serialized novels that gleefully offered thrills and gore to sensation-hungry Victorians. Titled The String of Pearls, it told of Sweeney Todd whose shop stood next to St. Dunstan's Church, just a few blocks from the Royal Courts of Justice. On this site, he robbed and murdered hundreds of customers. To dispose of their remains, he carried them to an underground bakery of one Mrs. Lovett, whose pie shop was a few blocks away. She ground the cadavers into stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite mid-day repast of the lawyers who worked nearby and who got their shaves from Sweeney Todd. The man you lunched with yesterday could be your lunch today! Before the serial's final chapters even hit the stands, the first stage version, pirated from the already published installments, was packing them in at a London theater. Since then there have been numerous stage, literary and screen versions of the story, most notably the hit Sondheim musical. Blackstone Audio has commissioned this, the first audio version of the tale, from the Audie award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear (The Sherlock Holmes Theatre, The Oresteia). With tongue in cheek, writer/producer/director Yuri Rasovsky has gone all the way back to the original penny dreadful to imbue an old string of pearls with new lusterand fresh blood.
by John Burdett
by Alan Moore
by Dustin Steinacker, Sean Hazlett, Anton Rose, Doug C. Souza, Walter Dinjos, Stephen Lawson, Jake Marley, C.L. Kagmi, Andrew Peery, Ville Merilainen, Ziporah Hildebrandt, Andrew Roberts
by Tamsyn Muir
by Brian Jacques
by William Shakespeare
by William Shakespeare, SmartPass Ltd.
"Writer/producer/director Rasovsky based this blackly humorous melodrama on the original Victorian tale, well known as a musical about a barber who kills and robs his rich customers. Their bodies supply the meat for the savory pies sold by his partner, Mrs. Lovett. The gruesome plot is played tongue-in-cheek and laced with comic and satiric elements. Performances are strong throughout. W. Morgan Sheppard is especially delectable as Todd. Accents occasionally wobble or are laid on a bit thick but are generally very good; Robertson Dean does a fine turn with a rural accent. Sound effects and music are used frequently and well, and the drama is punctuated with amusing and well-done songs, mostly traditional. This is a spirited and entertaining production. W.M. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine"
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