The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Why is Sweeney Todd's story so popular among Canadians?

 

And why do we seem to relate to the characters and their stories? The easy answer is that it's a fun gory story, but when you start unpacking the layers of meaning in Stephen Sondheim's musical, it takes on a whole different tone.

The Story Behind Sweeney Todd: Canada Loves A Villain

As much as we like to think we're all pure-of-hearts and wouldn't let someone suffer if we could help it, Canadians also love villains. The more villainous they are, the better. But not just any villain will suffice; the best ones come with a tragic backstory. Think about it: Darth Vader was once an upstanding Jedi Knight who succumbed to "the dark side,"and Captain Hook was a dashing young man until he lost his hand to the crocodile.

Sweeney Todd is also one of those tragic villains with an epic backstory, and it's this mix of "villainy" that makes him so popular in Canada.

The story of Sweeney Todd begins with tragedy. One day, when Sweeney Todd (or Benjamin Barker) is away at sea fighting for Queen and country, his wife Lucy realizes she's pregnant. But life isn't kind to her; after realising she can't raise the baby on her own, she is forced by Judge Turpin to give up her husband for falsely accused crimes committed by the judge himself. The judge decides to marry Lucy as well and take their child as his own.

Sweeney Todd, the protagonist of the story, returns to London a changed man - no longer an upstanding sailor or a loving husband and father - but a bitter barber with a vengeful side. Sweeney becomes a darker character after Lucy is raped by Judge Turpin into giving her child away-and he vows revenge on the judge. When that day finally comes, it's certainly satisfying for us audience members. But unfortunately Sweeney isn't alone for long; he meets Mrs Lovett, who begins using decaying meat pies as part of her business plan to entice customers down to her shop below Sweeney's barber shop on Fleet Street.

But there is Sweeney Todd - it is an award-winning show that will have you on the edge of your seat. It’s filled with suspense, drama and action! You won’t want to miss this incredible production. This show has everything – suspenseful scenes, beautiful melodies, and even some laughs. The actors are incredible at what they do and the music is just as good. If you want to have a night out with friends or family but don’t know where to start, this is it! Trust us when we say it’s worth every penny. Plus there are still tickets available for tonight's performance so grab them while they last!

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