Theatre / Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd is a Public-Domain Character
, a London barber who murdered his customers and disposed of the bodies by having them baked into pies and sold in the pie-shop of his accomplice Mrs. Lovett.
Notable versions of the story include:
- The String of Pearls (1846-7). The original version, serialised in The People's Periodical and Family Library. Anonymous, but thought to have been written by James Malcolm Rymer (author of Varney the Vampire) and Thomas Peckett Prest (thought to be that author at first).
- The String of Pearls (1847). The first stage adaptation, a melodrama by George Dibden Pitt.
- Sweeney Todd, the Barber of Fleet Street: or the String of Pearls (c. 1865). A Victorian melodrama based on The String of Pearls, written by Frederick Hazelton.
- Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936). A film adaptation of the Victorian melodrama, starring Tod Slaughter as the demon barber and Stella Rho as "Mrs. Lovatt."
- Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1973). A play by Christopher Bond, which gave Todd a tragic backstory and a revenge motivation.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979). The famous musical by Stephen Sondheim, based on Christopher Bond's play.
- Sweeney Todd (2006). A BBC movie drama that attempts to stay closer to the original myths of the story, taking place in the 18th century.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). Tim Burton's film adaptation of the musical.
Tropes common to multiple versions of the story include:
- Based on a Great Big Lie: The Pitt melodrama claimed to be based on a true story, and the claim has remained attached to the story on and off ever since.
- Dangerously Close Shave: Instead of shaving his customers, Sweeney murders them.
- The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Mrs. Lovett disposes of Sweeney's victims by baking them into pies. In most tellings this improves her pies and enriches her business.