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Benjamin Barker / Sweeney Todd
The intentionally sympathetic Villain Protagonist. Was born Benjamin Barker and used to be married to Lucy, before Judge Turpin sent him to Australia on a false charge, raped his wife, and adopted his daughter. When he comes back, he has gone completely insane, seeking bloody revenge on Turpin - and later, everyone in London.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the stage musical, he is normally played by a rather homely and overweight fatherly type. In the film, he's Johnny Depp.
- Adaptational Heroism: In "The String of Pearls", the penny dreadful the play is based on, Sweeney Todd is an unrepentant murderer motivated by greed and bloodlust with no sympathetic or redeeming qualities. In this musical, he's a tragic character. He used to be a normal family man until a corrupt judge deported him to Australia for a crime he didn't commit. When he comes back, he initially only wants to take revenge on said judge and his beadle, but unfortunate circumstances and his own increasing insanity drive him to commit worse and worse crimes. To top it all off, he's absolutely horrified when he realizes that he unwittingly killed his wife.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: He may be an insane Serial Killer who has his victims processed into meat pies, but he's still a saint compared to Judge Turpin, a Hanging Judge who had him sent to Australia on a false charge and raped his wife.
- Alliterative Name: Benjamin Barker.
- Anti-Hero: Initially, a Nominal Hero. Before Epiphany, his sole goal was plain revenge on Judge Turpin. After Epiphany, however, he goes completely mad and becomes a Villain Protagonist.
- Anti-Villain: He's the Woobie version of this. He used to be a nice guy with a beautiful wife and daughter until he's sent to Australia under false charges to satisfy Judge Turpin's jealousy, causing Benjamin Barker to be the person he is after his return to London.
- Ax-Crazy: Sweeney grows increasingly more unstable as the story goes on, until he is so far gone that he unknowingly kills his wife, whom he believed to be dead, and almost unknowingly kills his own daughter, just because he doesn't want any witnesses.
- Bald of Evil: As played by Michael Cerveris◊ in the 2005 Broadway revival.
- Big "NO!": His reaction to finding out what Turpin did to Lucy during "Poor Thing."
- BSoD Song: "Epiphany"
- Devoted to You: To his wife, Lucy. He never sought out another woman and fueled his revenge against the horrendous actions done to her. Upon the realization that he accidentally killed her, he's horrified by his actions and turns his rage to Mrs. Lovett who lied about his wife's death.
- Driven to Madness: Having to spend 15 years away from your spouse and child could do that to you.
- Driven to Villainy: He only begins killing to avenge the many wrongs afflicted to him and his family by Judge Turpin.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The entire quest for revenge and the shitshow that followed wouldn't have happened if he didn't love his wife and daughter so much.
- Even Evil Has Standards: One of the only people he changes his mind about killing is one who enters his shop with wife and child. Granted, it might be more because he simply doesn't want to get caught, but considering everything that happened to his wife and child, there's got to be some empathy going on here.
- Evil Is Hammy: George Hearn's Sweeney is definitely over the top, though even Johnny Depp's Sweeney has his moments.
- Evil Makeover: The film reveals that he looked much younger and happier when he was still with his wife. After he's imprisoned by Judge Turpin, he becomes a a pale-skinned, Cesare-esque stoic.
- Face Death with Dignity: After accidentally murdering his wife, he just allowed Toby to kill him.
- Faux Affably Evil: He puts on a friendly facade towards his unwittingly customers before slicing off their throats. Especially pronounced with both Bamford and Turpin.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He goes from a mere barber to a ruthless serial killer after his wrongful imprisonment left him hungry for revenge.
- The Hero Dies: Define hero. Taken to mean sympathetic, but ultimately crazy and murderous, then yes.
- He Who Fights Monsters: In pursuing revenge against Turpin, Sweeney becomes a frightening Serial Killer.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the play and the film, Toby slits Sweeney's throat with his own razor.
- "I Want" Song: "My Friends", about his desire for retribution.
- Kill the Ones You Love: He unknowingly killed his wife Lucy and almost killed his daughter.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Although he wasn't cut off, he just stopped singing and accepted his fate:Sweeney: And he was...
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Sweeney's a raging Serial Killer, yes. But the audience have no problems with him killing Pirelli, who abuses Toby. Or Beadle Bamford. And especially not Judge Turpin.
- Knife Nut: Sweeney's Weapon of Choice is his set of beautiful silver straight razors, which he is creepily fond of.
- Knight Templar: Everything he does in the play was out of revenge towards the man who raped his wife and who planned to marry his young daughter.
- Looks Like Cesare: The film version of Sweeney, in keeping with Tim Burton's chosen aesthetic.
- Morton's Fork: He uses this to justify killing 'everyone'' in "Epiphany". There Are Two Kinds of People in the World—"the one staying put in his proper place and the one with his foot in the other one's face" AKA either you're powerful, because you're evil, and therefore you deserve to die, or you're good, so you're oppressed, and therefore "death will be a relief". To his credit, even in his madness he includes himself in his litany of nihilism—his drive to kill Judge Turpin is the only reason he has to live any more.
- The Mourning After: Though Mrs. Lovett would dearly love to have him for her own, the only woman Sweeney ever loved was Lucy, and nothing will sway him from avenging her.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Upon realising that the beggar he killed was his own wife, Lucy Barker.
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Doesn't seem to really notice Mrs. Lovett's obvious flirting.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: When he kills Judge Turpin, the man who sent him into his downward spiral.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The judge sends Benjamin off to Botany Bay on a false charge so that he could get at his wife Lucy.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He spends the entire play on one against Judge Turpin for sending him to Botany Bay on a false charge and for raping his wife.
- Sanity Slippage: After Judge Turpin gets away, he decides that all of humanity either has it coming or would be happier dead anyways.
- Serial Killer: What Sweeney becomes after "Epiphany".
- Skunk Stripe: The film's Sweeney has a white one on the front left side of his hair. It's been said that his hair was based off of Dave Vanian from The Damned.
- Slashed Throat: He kills all of his victims this way, excluding Judge Turpin, who he repeated stabs in the throat, and Mrs Lovett, who he pushes into the oven. He eventually falls victim to his himself at the hands of Toby in the film's climax.
- Straw Nihilist: "We all deserve to die! Even you, Mrs. Lovett, even I! Because the lives of the wicked shall be made brief! For the rest of us, death will be a relief! We all deserve to die!"
- That Man Is Dead: He regards his former identity of Benjamin Barker as such:Mrs. Lovett: I can't say the years have been particularly kind to you, Mr. Barker.
Sweeney: No. Not Barker. That man is dead. It's Todd now. Sweeney Todd. And he will have his revenge.
- Tragic Villain: Though a serial killer by the end of the play, he is also a very sympathetic character who was departed on false charges and returns home to find that everyone he ever cared about has been taken from him.
- Villainous Breakdown: He has a couple. The first one after he failed to kill the judge the first time and the second one when he realizes that he unintentionally murdered his supposedly dead wife.
- Villain Protagonist: He seeks revenge against the man who raped his wife and had him sent away.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: While he's become a Serial Killer, you can't help but feel sorry for him given what has happened to his family.
Mrs. Nellie Lovett
Mrs. Nellie Lovett was Benjamin's neighbor a long time ago. She's the owner of a meat pie shop that has fallen on hard times due to the meat shortage in London, and has always had a fondness for Benjamin. She's the one who hits upon the ghoulish idea of disposing of the people that Sweeney murders by baking them into pies in order to drum up some much-needed business for her shop.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Is played by Helena Bonham-Carter in the movie, when onstage she tends to be an aging, matronly type — often overweight, too, which Helena most certainly is not.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Although she wasn't exactly hiding it previously, she does this during the final sequence of the film:Mrs Lovett: Yes, I lied, 'cause I love you! I'd be twice the wife she was! I love you!
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's kind and supportive on the outside, but very insane and cannibalistic inside.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: She wants Sweeney all to herself, going as far as to lie to him about his wife's "death" and hide her existence away from him.
- Cute and Psycho: Well, how cute she is depends on the actress, but as played by Helena Bonham Carter, she's stunning. And murderously insane.
- Death by Irony: Sweeney throws her into her own oven.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Especially in the movie.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: More-or-less adopts Toby after Pirelli's death and genuinely grows to care about him. But she doesn't think twice about killing him when it becomes necessary, even if she's not overly thrilled about it. Double subverted since this is mainly out of love for Sweeney.
- Evil Redhead: She's typically portrayed as a redhead, but her hair color can vary depending on the production.
- Exact Words: She didn't exactly lie to Sweeney about Lucy's "death", as she is quick to point out in the final number:Mrs. Lovett: No, no, not lied at all! No, I never lied! Said she took the poison - she did! - Never said that she died!
- Faux Affably Evil: Quite charming and friendly with her customers, but any one of them could end up in a pie and she wouldn't care.
- Hopeless Suitor: No matter what she does, Sweeney won't reciprocate her affections and his late wife Lucy will be the only woman for him, to Mrs. Lovett's dismay.
- Horned Hairdo: Some productions give her one of these.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: To Sweeney.
- "I Want" Song: "By The Sea" and her part of "My Friends".
- Kill It with Fire: Her final fate at the hands of Sweeney.
- Lady Macbeth: When Todd returned to London, he had no hope of seeing his family again and merely wanted to start over. But it was her that encouraged him into chasing after the Judge and turning to murder and cannibalism.
- Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: She has been attracted to Benjamin/Sweeney ever since she was just his neighbor.
- Love Makes You Evil: Everything she did, namely lying to Sweeney about the supposed death of his beloved wife and indirectly causing him to kill her himself, she did for love.Mrs Lovett: I was only thinking of you! [...] Better you should think she was dead! Yes, I lied, 'cause I love you!
- Mad Love: She enables Sweeney's serial murders and disposes of his victims by baking them into pies. She continues to make romantic overtures to him despite his obvious disinterest, going so far as to trick him into thinking his wife is dead. He throws her into her own oven to burn to death when he discovers her deception.
- Manipulative Bitch: Depending on how you look at it, she is at heart the cause of Sweeney's madness. Made more explicit by the end of the film, where it is revealed that she lied to Sweeney about his wife's "death".
- Of Corsets Sexy: In the movie. Understandable, due to some sever Adaptational Attractiveness.
- Perky Female Minion: In the stage musical. She is much more obviously batshit in the movie.
- Psycho Supporter: Mrs. Lovett is just as nuts as Sweeney is.
- Supreme Chef: Once she gets her hands on some decent meat, that is.
- Yandere: She loves Sweeney dearly. She keeps his wife's existence a secret in order to have him for herself. It doesn't work. It especially doesn't help that she tries justifying herself by saying that she did it because she loved him and that she can be twice the wife Lucy was.
The Beggar Woman
The Beggar Woman is a mysterious figure that wanders London asking for alms. She is quite mad, and can be quite lewd at times. She seems to know Sweeney quite well, but Sweeney doesn't want anything to do with her.
- Beneath Notice: Not that it was her fault and Sweeney was told Lucy was gone after all, but if he had taken longer than a minute to look her in the eye, she could have been saved.
- Broken Bird: Poor Lucy has just gotten raped and nearly poisoned herself, merely driving her insane.
- Chekhov's Gunman: As it turns out, Sweeney does know her. She's his long lost wife.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Nobody but her notices the ominous burning smell and smoke from outside the basement bakehouse.
- Famous Last Words: "Don't I know you, Mister?"
- Have We Met?: "Don't I know you, Mister?" Doubles as her Famous Last Words.
- Murder by Mistake: Sweeney murdering her wasn't an accident. He just sure as hell didn't mean to murder her.
- The Ophelia: Thanks to Turpin and the poisoning suicide attempt that followed, she's been reduced to a homeless insane woman who begs for a living.
- Pre-Insanity Reveal: The homeless madwoman that hangs around the barber shop is revealed to be Sweeney's long-lost wife, Lucy. Unfortunately, this isn't revealed—either to Sweeney or the audience—until after he murders her.
- Slashed Throat: By Sweeney, in the play's finalé.
- Trauma Conga Line: Before the events of the film, she's separated from her husband, raped, and sent to a Bedlam House. During the film she's treated poorly by everybody except Antony and is killed by her husband just as she recognizes him.
- Walking Spoiler: The reveal that she's Sweeney's supposedly dead wife at the end of the play makes her this.
An idealistic young sailor who saved Sweeney's life on board the good ship Bountiful and brought him to London, Anthony is the other protagonist of the story in general. He meets and falls in love with Johanna, Sweeney's daughter, and seeks to free her from her tyrannical guardian, Judge Turpin.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the movie he is in his twenties, handsome in a more delicate fashion, and a tenor.
- Determinator: A less cynical reading of Anthony makes him out to be this, especially in the movie adaptation. Yes, he's enamored with Johanna, but when describing her the first words out of his mouth are "There's a girl who needs my help!" And he takes that duty very seriously throughout the story, refusing to be deterred by beatings, threats or having her shipped off to an insane asylum once she makes it clear that she wants him to help her.
- The otherwise kind of creepy lyrics of 'Johanna' are rendered decidedly sweeter and more genuine with context and this interpretation. Yes, under normal circumstances it would not be particularly romantic to swear you're going to track a young girl down and kidnap her away, and that in the meantime you'll imagine what it would be like to be holding her. When the girl in question is currently huddled in a filthy corner, terrified and alone, however... it can be read less as an unhealthy obsession and more as an oath to a frightened young woman that he's not going to give up on saving her just because their path to freedom has gotten harder.
- Do with Him as You Will: In the movie, after freeing Johanna from Fogg's Asylum, Anthony leaves Fogg at the mercy of his "children."
- Fish out of Water: A lot of portrayals of Anthony make him out to be this, particularly the movie version.
- Meaningful Name: The most optimistic character in the entire work.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: See Spanner in the Works.
- Obsession Song: A good number of people cite "Johanna," particularly the second half, as this.
- Official Couple: While Benjamin/Lucy and Sweeney/Mrs. Lovett fans are fiercely divided over who is the first Official Couple, Anthony/Johanna is very much the second.
- Spanner in the Works: Sweeney would have killed Judge Turpin and ended the play right there and then in the middle had Anthony, who had recently talked to Sweeney about his plan to elope with Johanna in order to get her away from Turpin, not busted into his shop — with the judge right there in the room — in order to inform Sweeney that he has found Johanna and that she has agreed to the plan. Needless to say, this ends up blowing both the aforementioned plan and Sweeney's attempt to kill Turpin straight to hell.
- Stalker with a Crush: The more cynical readings of Anthony's character make him out to be this for Johanna. The lyrics of the second half of "Johanna" definitely don't help things, nor his rather creepy bloody face as he sings it in the movie. Judge Turpin, on the other hand, is ten times worse.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His busting into Sweeney's shop just as he's about to kill Turpin and revealing that Johanna has agreed to his plan ends up leading not only to Turpin sending Johanna to Fogg's Asylum, but Sweeney's Sanity Slippage and becoming a Serial Killer.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: As Sweeney tells him near the beginning, "You are young. Life has been kind to you. You will learn." Johanna says a variant of the same thing to him near the end.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Fancies himself the hero of a Rescue Romance, saving the Damsel in Distress Johanna from the clutches of her evil guardian, and expects a Happily Ever After.
Sweeney's lost wife. After her rape at the hands of Judge Turpin at the masked ball he threw, she committed suicide by poisoning herself.
- Bedlam House: Ended up there instead of a hospital after poisoning herself.
- Bungled Suicide: Her attempt to poison herself led only to the deterioration of her mental state.
- Death Faked for You: Unlike what Mrs. Lovett would have Sweeney believe, Lucy survived her suicide attempt. They should have taken her to a hospital, but instead, she wound up in Bedlam, and her fifteen years in Going Among Mad People drove her quite insane.
- Defiled Forever: After her horrific rape and humiliation, she poisoned herself.
- Driven to Suicide: By the arrest and deportation of her husband, followed by her rape at the hands of Judge Turpin. Except she really survived.
- Go Among Mad People: After she was raped by Judge Turpin and drank the arsenic to try to kill herself, Lucy was sent to Bedlam House (the actual one) instead of the hospital, which, along with the effects of the arsenic, drove the woman quite insane, leaving her as the crazed Beggar Woman. And Mrs. Lovett knew about this all along, and didn't tell Sweeney about it until after he had killed her and recognized her just now. Needless to say, Sweeney does not take it well.
- The Lost Lenore: To Benjamin Barker/Sweeney Todd.
- Posthumous Character: She's long dead by the time Sweeney returns to London. Or not.
- Rape as Drama: As we learn early on.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Her beauty is what drew Turpin to her in the first place. If she wasn't so insanely gorgeous, the entire plot never would've happened.
- Trauma Conga Line: Her husband is arrested and sent to Australia on a false charge, she's brutally raped at a ball by the man who sent her husband away, her daughter is taken away from her by her rapist and she finally poisoned herself. Except that wasn't the end of it as she survived. Instead of sending her to a hospital, Lucy was sent to Bedlam House, which, along with the effects of the arsenic, drove the woman quite insane, leaving her as the crazed Beggar Woman.
Sweeney's sixteen-year-old daughter. When she was just one year old, her father was transported for life, and her mother was soon invited to Judge Turpin's mansion. The horrible events of that night would drive her mother to poison herself. She was then taken in by Judge Turpin, who raised her as his own and gave her a sheltered upbringing. But now that Johanna is growing up, she finds her guardian's mansion to be a prison, a cage like the birds whose songs she likes to hear, and she wants more than anything to be free of it. Worse, the Judge, who she has seen all her life as a father, is starting to look upon her with the same hungry eyes that he once looked upon her mother with. When Anthony Hope, a young sailor just arrived in London, catches her eye, the two of them fall in love, and Johanna sees her chance to finally escape.
- Alone with the Psycho: Anthony leaves her in Sweeney Todd's parlor, and she sees and hears two people get murdered.
- Break the Cutie: Johanna is one of the most innocent of the main cast. The events of the play do not treat her well.
- Demoted to Extra: In the 2007 film, she goes from the second female lead to an almost silent Living MacGuffin
- Go Among Mad People: Johanna is thrown into a madhouse by Judge Turpin after he finds out about her plan to elope with Anthony. She's just lucky she doesn't have to spend too much time there unlike her mother.
- Hates Being Alone: After Anthony rescues her he leaves her in Sweeney's parlor to hire a chaise, but only after she begs him not to go without her and he comforts her, saying he'll be back soon.
- The Ingenue: Subverted - in the play, when Anthony comes to rescue her from Fogg's Asylum and can't bring himself to shoot the asylum keeper, she's the one who ultimately pulls the trigger.
- "I Want" Song: "Green Finch and Linnet Bird". It's very much the bittersweet "crushed by life" variant of this kind of song — having spent fifteen years as the ward and essential prisoner of Judge Turpin, all that Johanna dares hope for is the ability to adjust to captivity ("If I cannot fly/Let me sing!").
- Love Interest: For Anthony.
- The Ophelia: Many performances have Johanna as this by the time Anthony rescues her.
- Parental Abandonment: Her father was sent away on a trumped-up charge and her mother poisoned herself soon after what happened to her at the Judge's hands though unknown to her, still alive when Johanna was just a year old.
The main antagonist of the play. Judge Turpin is a corrupt judge of London, a man of power with serious problems with controlling his libido around beautiful women. He sent Benjamin Barker off to Botany Bay on a false charge so that he could get at his wife Lucy, whom he ultimately raped at a masked ball he threw. He then adopted Lucy's then one-year-old daughter Johanna as his own, most likely out of remorse for his crime. Unfortunately, the Judge has come to desire Johanna as more than just a daughter with her coming of age. And little does he know that Benjamin has returned, intent upon revenge for Lucy.
- Big Bad: Turpin is technically the villain of the play, and he puts the plot in motion.
- Depraved Bisexual: Has shades of this in the film. While going through his erotica collection with Anthony, he casually mentions the 'catamites of Greece'. A catamite is a young male prostitute.
- Dirty Old Man: An extremely evil example, being a rapist with an intention to marry his victim's daughter.
- Evil Sounds Deep: When played by Alan Rickman.
- Actually, most of the time. The part is just written low.
- Hanging Judge: Turpin's stock in trade. He is decidedly uninterested in whether or not the people called before the stand are guilty or not, as in his view, virtually everyone has done something to warrant a hanging. And that's before you factor in what he does to those he perceives to be in the way of something or someone he wants.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: The climax of the "Poor Thing" scene. Poor Lucy...
- Kangaroo Court: All of Turpin's trials are this way. Particularly Benjamin's.
- Kick the Dog: Judge Turpin is a dog-kicking machine. Having an innocent barber transported for life so you can get at his wife? Check. Tricking said wife into coming to your mansion (where you have a wild party in progress) so you can rape her? Check. Sentencing an eight-year-old boy to death and not giving a damn whether he was innocent or guilty? Check. Keeping your adoptive daughter (the daughter of the woman you raped) locked in your mansion because you want her for yourself? Check. Throwing the poor girl into a madhouse after she's made it abundantly clear she wants nothing to do with you and wants to marry a sailor boy? CHECK.
- Love Father, Love Son: He lusts after Johanna just as he did with her mother.
- Lust: The Judge's principle sin, which sets the entire plot into motion.
- Obsession Song: "Johanna (Mea Culpa)," which is often cut from productions due to length and possible Squick.
- Oh, Crap!: The Judge's reaction on learning just who Sweeney is — just before Sweeney finally kills him.
- Perma-Stubble: He almost never gets a clean shave at any point in the film.
- Pet the Dog: A bit straight then subverted. Lovett states he might had a least a conscience, thus why he raised Johanna as his own. Only he didn't count on falling in lust with her when Johanna grew up, and rationalizes that marriage with her is the best way to protect her.
- Rasputinian Death: In the film, he's stabbed in the throat multiple times, eventually has his throat slit and is sent falling down a presumably long shaft. Even after that, he manages to survive long enough to grab for Mrs. Lovett's dress before he finally dies.
- Sex Is Evil: According to Judge Turpin.
- Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Various theater versions of this musical have various takes on this. Some make him a more clear-cut example by highlighting his self-loathing, while others make him more one-dimensional.
- Slashed Throat: He is the last to die this way by Sweeney's hand, and in the film, Sweeney is far more savage and vicious when he finally kills him than with any of the others.
- Small Role, Big Impact: While not exactly a "small" role, Turpin actually doesn't have as much stage time as you'd think, considering he's the Big Bad. He pops in and out of several scenes in act one, and is absent for nearly all of act two with the exception of his death scene. He even has less stage time than Beadle Bamford, his henchman! This is even more pronounced when some productions choose to cut his solo "Johanna (Mea Culpa)". However, his impact on the show is obviously immense, and his lack of stage time does not diminish his overall presence in the piece.
- The Stoic: The Judge is the very picture of composure in both the play and the film. He only loses it on two occasions; the first being when he learns of Johanna's plan to elope with Anthony — from Anthony's own mouth no less! — and when he finally learns exactly who Sweeney is just before Sweeney finally kills him.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Sweeney merely slits his throat in the musical, but in the film, he stabs his throat multiple times before ending him with one big slash. It's the bloodiest death in the the entire movie.
- Villainous Crush: On both Lucy and Johanna.
- White Shirt of Death: The white cloth that covers his body gets splattered with blood when Sweeney stabs him to death.
- Wife Husbandry: His plans for Johanna.
The right-hand man of Judge Turpin, Beadle Bamford does the main job of carrying out the Judge's orders. He is quite easily flattered, but can also be quite cruel.
- Alliterative Name: Although "Beadle" is his title and not his first name.
- The Dragon: To Turpin, as he does all of his bidding.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Makes mention of a daughter named Annie in the first act, whom he seems to love, at least.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Strongly averted. In contrast with Judge Turpin's creepy bass, the Beadle is a countertenor, and hits some extremely impressive notes in the "Kiss Me/Ladies in Their Sensitivities Quartet" and "Parlor Songs" (specifically in Tower of Bray). In fact, during the finale reprise of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd", he sings in full falsetto alongside Pirelli's tenor. The result is chilling.
- Fat Bastard: In the 1981 recorded production, and the movie.
- Faux Affably Evil: In the film, he calmly gives Anthony directs to Hyde Park as he's beating him to a bloody pulp.
- Jerkass: Oh yes. Very much so. He seems to take sadistic pleasure in beating up Anthony after the latter was kicked out of the Judge's house. Not only that, but during the climax of "Poor Thing," he has a big sick grin on his face as he watches Judge Turpin force himself on Lucy.
- Kick the Dog: In the movie, he takes sick pleasure in whipping Anthony, and in the play, he snaps the neck of the poor little bird that was Anthony's gift to Johanna before threatening him with the same if he ever sets foot on the street again. He also carries out the Judge's order to throw Johanna into Fogg's Asylum.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: The audience certainly doesn't object to Sweeney killing him, but it's also a major Kick the Dog moment in that this is how the secret of the pies is ultimately revealed to Toby, as he falls down the chute and into the evil basement Mrs. Lovett has locked him in.
- Killed Offstage: Notably, of all the principle characters who are killed over the course of the play, Beadle Bamford is the only one who is killed offstage. The incredibly dramatic reveal of his body, however, is what really catapults the play into it's climax.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse: In the original Broadway production, the original London production, and the filmed version of the first national tour. After "Parlor Songs", Sweeney escorts Beadle Bamford upstairs to his parlor for a shave and "a splash of bay rum". We shift to Toby in the bake house, as he discovers a black human hair and a bit of finger nail in a meat pie he's been eating. He quickly runs to the door of the bake house, finds it locked, and begins pounding on it and yelling for Mrs. Lovett to let him out. Out of nowhere, the chute door next to him opens up, and the Beadle's body flops out, covered in blood, with a wide eyed look of terror. This is accompanied by a shrill note from the factory whistle as well. Seeing this, Toby shrieks and runs off into the darkness of the cellar.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Ladies in Their Sensitivities" qualifies as one, with the Beadle pointing out the Judge's "less than your best" appearance, and encouraging him to visit Sweeney for a shave and pomade in order to successfully woo Johanna.
- Slashed Throat: Sweeney eventually kills him this way.
Adolfo Pirelli is a street mountebank who proclaims himself to be the king of the barbers and the barber of kings. With the help of his young assistant Tobias Ragg, he sells a "Miracle Elixir" that is exposed by Sweeney as an arrant fraud, "concocted of piss and ink." He is roundly beaten by Sweeney in a contest for the fastest and smoothest shave.
- Abusive Dad: Pirelli's treatment of Toby is utterly deplorable, and according to Toby, he's a "good one with the lashings." In fact, if you look closely when he is sharpening his razor, he appears to be repeatedly cutting Toby's hand with every slice.
- Adaptational Name Change: His real name in the movie is Davy Collins, while in the stage musical, it's Daniel O'Higgins. Also, in Christopher Bond's original play, his stage name is Alfredo Pirelli, and his real name is Alf Spiral.
- Adaptational Nationality: While his true nationality is revealed to be Irish in the musical, the film changes it British. In the 2005 Broadway revival, it's implied that he's American.
- Asshole Victim: After his abuse of Toby, can anyone deny that Pirelli is one of the more deserving victims?
- Blackmail Backfire: When Pirelli recognizes Sweeney from the old days when he was Benjamin Barker, he tries to blackmail him, threatening to tell Beadle Bamford about him if he doesn't hand over half his earnings to him every week. This proves to be his biggest mistake.
- Braggart Boss: Did you know he had the honour of shaving the Pope?
- Camp Straight: In the films. Being dressed flamboyantly definitely helps.
- Cross-Cast Role: It's not unheard of for Pirelli to be portrayed by a woman to help balance the sexes slightly better among the principal cast (and as a somewhat easier approach to those high notes, especially for non-professional productions). Most notably, Donna Lynne Champlin took the role in the 2005 Broadway revival. It'd be quite a change-up for Pirelli to actually be switched to a female character, though.
- Averted in the film, where he is played by Sacha Baron Cohen.
- Dead Man's Chest: After Sweeney kills him, he stuffs his body into a chest.
- Evil Is Hammy: Quite up on par with Sweeney, as a matter of fact.
- Faux Affably Evil: His ridiculous personality contributes to this. His smiles are fake and he Would Hurt a Child.
- Fauxreigner: Pirelli is not Italian, but Irish. He was once an Irish boy who Benjamin hired to sweep up hair for a time.
- Funny Foreigner: Often with the most absurd of accents and costumes.
- Hypocrite: He sings about how being flashy is a bad thing for a barber even though he's showing off while he's singing.
- Jerkass: He abuses his child assistant and attempts to blackmail Sweeney.
- Slashed Throat: The first of a lot of characters that end up this way.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Out of the nine principle characters, Pirelli has the smallest role by far. He is only in two scenes, and has 'The Contest' and the seconds long 'Pirelli's Death' as his songs (not including the Ballad of Sweeney Todd and it's reprises). However, his foppish personality, ridiculous accent, and outstanding tenor make him extremely memorable. On top of that, he is the first in an extremely long line of Sweeney's victims. His corpse is also what gives Mrs. Lovett the idea to cook dead bodies into meat pies and his death leaves Toby, his assistant, living and working with Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett. His coin purse also ends up becoming a shockingly vital item later in the plot.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Pirelli's stock in trade.
- Too Dumb to Live: His private meeting with a convict whose profession involves such lethal objects as straight razors, whom he decided to try to blackmail, didn't exactly work out for great for him.
Tobias "Toby" Ragg is the young assistant of a street mountebank by the name of Adolfo Pirelli. Depending on the production, he is anywhere from childhood (such as was the case in the movie) to teenage, or, in some cases, a mentally handicapped adult, but definitely has a childlike air about him.
- Ambiguous Disorder: In the stagings that portray him as a mentally ill adult.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: His fondness for Mrs Lovett.
- Break the Cutie: By the end of the film.
- Children Are Innocent: Besides drinking ale and being forced into advertising for both Pirelli, and later Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett, he is definitely an example of this. At least, until he finds out the truth about Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney during the film's climax.
- Corrupt the Cutie: In the film's climax, he slits Sweeney's throat after he realises what he and Mrs. Lovett had done to him.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: The revelation that Mrs. Lovett's pies are made from human meat drives him to insanity.
- Happily Adopted: Tragically subverted. He's under the care of Adolfo Pirelli, who is an Abusive Dad. Then subverted again when, after Pirelli's death, he's adopted by Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett. Even though she seems to care for him to a certain extent, they are both willing to kill him if they have to.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Accidentally, thanks to eating the pies cooked by Mrs Lovett. When he realises this, he becomes shocked and distraught, leading to his Sanity Slippage and Beware the Nice Ones moments.
- Sanity Slippage: Played straight in the play. Heavily implied (to a lesser extent) in the film, seeing as how he ended up slitting Sweeney's throat.
- Slashed Throat: The climax has him doing this to Sweeney himself, and in the film, he serves this up with stone cold silence.