Sweeney Todd Question #15 - Endings

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Sweeney Todd Question #15 - Endings

Unread postby Liz » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:16 am

Let’s discuss the ending(s). Were the endings you read/viewed what you expected? Were they fitting? How would you have ended it?
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:58 am

Can't remember now how the Pitt play ended, stupid brain cells. But the BBC production had Sweeny slit his own throat while in prison awaiting his exection. He said he wanted to shave himself because he didn't trust anyone else.But I think in a way that allowed him to get away with it.

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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:46 am

I thought the ending for the musical was much more effective than the ending for the play, a more natural progression than the melodramatic contrivance of the play. To be honest I'm not certain as to how I would have ended either production.

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Unread postby Endora » Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:56 am

Whatever the ending, the play relies on his being called to account, he can't be allowed to win. Although we like the gore and melodrama, we like the surity of moral retribution falling on the wicked. This allows the audience to depart with a sense of superiority!
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:01 pm

GG, the way I remember it, in the Pitt play Tobias and Jeffery overpower Sweeney and force him into his barber’s chair. The police and Johanna come in, Sweeney is screaming and throwing up his hands in despair as the chair overturns of its own accord, and he falls to the depths below.

I rather like this ending. It's probably my favorite part of the play. I think it could be a very effective melodramatic finale. It seems a fitting ending for him--the punishment fits the crime, sort of thing.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:34 pm

Liz wrote:GG, the way I remember it, in the Pitt play Tobias and Jeffery overpower Sweeney and force him into his barber’s chair. The police and Johanna come in, Sweeney is screaming and throwing up his hands in despair as the chair overturns of its own accord, and he falls to the depths below.

I rather like this ending. It's probably my favorite part of the play. I think it could be a very effective melodramatic finale. It seems a fitting ending for him--the punishment fits the crime, sort of thing.


Either that or wailing over Lucy! I'm all for the abrupt ending, either the chair or wailing in agony. I say agonize Sweeny. They say there's nothing worse than making a man live when all he wants to do is die.

What I don't like is the ending going on and on. In Sondhiem's, after the throws Mrs. Lovett into the oven, everyone shows up to see TOBIAS wandering around the bodies. To me, this is sort of anti-climactic.(In POTC2, they all sit around drinking ...I would have ended it as the Kracken bears down.) I want to leave the theatre sitting on the edge of my chair, with my brain on overdrive.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:50 pm

The ending of the Pitt play was exactly what I expected: the villain is done in for his dastardly deeds. As Liz mentioned, using the chair made it a fitting ending.
The bloody slitting of Sweeney's throat in the musical completely caught me by surprise. As I mentioned before, I expected Sweeney (somehow or other :-? ) to see the light and become a fine and honorable human being!!!! (Well, most musicals end on a real upper!) I can't say that that is how I would have ended it, however; it really would have been far-fetched. Actually, I've come to pretty well like the Sondheim ending as it is. There was such pathos with the recognition of Lucy and with the sweet Tobias going mad and grinding three times. Then I loved the reprise with all of the dead, concluding with Sweeney, coming out singing. Horrific story ends in horror but is touching in that we've come to care about the people.
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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:14 pm

I thought the Sondheim musical was pretty heavily focused on Tobias rather than Sweeny. Tobias story line is good though, but I would put it ahead of Sweeny, then have Sweeny alive at the end. Would that make sense? I don't know.
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Coping out this time.

Unread postby gemini » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:24 pm

Well, You all gave such good answers that I am going to not use my brain but just my gut feelings on this one. Is that a cop out? To be honest, in the versions I've seen, I never had enough sympathy for Sweeney to really care how they did him in. I felt more sorry for Mrs. Lovett in the Haining version when she poisons herself than in the others when she is killed. Strange.
The only thing this question makes me think of , is how will I feel when Johnny plays the part? Somehow I think, as I have in the past where he played unsavory characters, that I will not want him caught or punished but to get away with it. I seem to loose my morality when he plays a part.
Not sure if I answered the quesiton...
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Re: Coping out this time.

Unread postby Depputante » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:31 pm

gemini wrote:Well, You all gave such good answers that I am going to not use my brain but just my gut feelings on this one.. Is that a cop out? To be honest, in the versions I've seen, I never had enough sympathy for Sweeney to really care how they did him in. I felt more sorry for Mrs. Lovett in the Haining version when she poisons herself than in the others when she is killed. Strange.


My versions didn't have Mrs. Lovett poision herself so haven't commented on that. Poisioning , rather than getting thrown in the oven, would make me feel sorry for her too. I didn't think much of her either way, getting thrown into the oven. I only got Mrs. Lovett's "love" when Tobias was singing to her, so I think having her poison herself would be better. :-/

gemini wrote: The only thing this question makes me think of , is how will I feel when Johnny plays the part? Somehow I think, as I have in the past where he played unsavory characters, that I will not want him caught or punished but to get away with it. I seem to loose my morality when he plays a part.
Not sure if I answered the quesiton...


:capnjack: Johnny will indeed make us feel a great deal of sympathy and compassion for Sweeny. He was done wrong by, and did avenge his family afterall ! And that really is the bottom line, isn't it? :bawl:
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:33 pm

Betty Sue wrote: I expected Sweeney (somehow or other :-? ) to see the light and become a fine and honorable human being!!!!


:lol: That's funny. A true paradigm.
One thought, is that Sweeny IS a fine honorable human being. He's avenged his family! :eyebrow: And Mrs. Lovett, is the liar who did him in and broke him in the end.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:28 pm

I was surprised when Sweeney died at the end of the Sondheim play. I haven't quite figured out why, but I didn't expect it. I thought it was very chilling though having Tobias grinding away on the wheel with his white hair in the midst of all the slaughter. I'm not sure what I did expect. :eyebrow:
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Re: Coping out this time.

Unread postby Liz » Mon Oct 23, 2006 4:55 pm

Depputante wrote:
gemini wrote: The only thing this question makes me think of , is how will I feel when Johnny plays the part? Somehow I think, as I have in the past where he played unsavory characters, that I will not want him caught or punished but to get away with it. I seem to loose my morality when he plays a part.
Not sure if I answered the quesiton...


:capnjack: Johnny will indeed make us feel a great deal of sympathy and compassion for Sweeny. He was done wrong by, and did avenge his family afterall ! And that really is the bottom line, isn't it? :bawl:


That is if one goes with the Sondheim/Wheeler/Bond version. In the Pitt play there is no motivation for Sweeney's carnage. But I think that is the way the Burton version will go--I mean with the Sondheim version.

And Gemini, I never want to see any of Johnny's characters caught or punished either--except for Spencer. I think it has to do with the fact that I find almost all of his characters sympathetic. BTW I answer many questions with my gut feelings. I certainly think that is a valid way to go.
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history repeats itself

Unread postby gemini » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:24 pm

Just another random thought that jumped in my mind while reading the thread here.

In Sondhiems version where Tobias kills Sweeney. He went a little over the edge also and he did kill as a revenge for Sweeney killing Mrs. Lovett (my opinion here, but I think he thought of her as his family)
Doesn't that make him the new Sweeney and the cycle starts again? Or maybe that is the ironic part, history repeating itself?
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:18 pm

Well, there's a thought. Sweeney Todd, the sequel?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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