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 and Thomas Peckett Prest.
- 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.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Mrs. Lovett's pies are people!