SYNOPSIS: Generally acknowledged as Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, this musical thriller tells the tale of Sweeney Todd, a barber in nineteenth century London who returns from Australia to wreak revenge on the judge who sent him to prison. He winds up in cahoots with Mrs. Lovett, the owner of a struggling meat pie shop, who sees a way to make a profit from the people Sweeney kills. The musical is darkly and diabolically funny, filled with beautiful music and bloodthirsty murders at the same time.
LANGUAGE: There is a small amount of vulgar language. Specifically, the language includes the use of “shit” (several times), and Christ.”
SMOKING AND DRINKING: There is both smoking and drinking in the show.
SMOKING/DRINKING: There is both smoking and drinking in the show.
SEX: There is some sexual innuendo in the lyrics, and the character of Judge Turpin punishes himself for his lustful thoughts by whipping himself, but there is no explicit sexual activity in the play.
VIOLENCE: As befits the title, Sweeney murders a number of people by slitting their throats when they come in for a shave, and Mrs. Lovett grinds up his victims for use in her meat pies. The violence is of the Halloween horror variety (in fact, the musical was made into a movie starring Johnny Depp) and is in the tradition of Jack-the-Ripper and other mad killer stories.
FOR WHICH AUDIENCES? Sweeney Todd is suitable for most adult audiences and teenaged children. Audiences should be advised about the stylized violence in the show, and younger children would be frightened by Sweeney and his razor. The musical is not suitable for children under the age of ten, and older children should attend at a parent’s discretion.
RATING: The movie version of Sweeney Todd was rated “R” for gore/violence. The stage version will be somewhat milder and would likely receive a “PG-13” rating.