I didn’t see or hear much about this production at all on Tumblr which, with the Anglophilia running rampant around her, confuses me.
I didn’t get a chance to see it (as I, rather unfortunately, live in the states.)
But this is the Final Scene from Sweeney Todd. From what I’ve read, Imelda wasn’t incredible. But I have the recording and I’ve watched most of the pro-shot vids and, I have to say, she’s fighting Patti for Mrs. Lovett supreme in my mind.
And… just… this scene. The first time I listened to this cast, I wasn’t actually listening, I just had it on. Well, I found my chest tight and eyes watering and I was so confused. I checked iTunes and saw just what was happening, restarted the song and was absolutely floored, then didn’t take this cast recording off of repeat for 3 days.
I’m not a Michael Ball fan, per se, and c/o my Harry Potter obsession, Imelda tends to make me irrationally angry as her character is my least favorite in the series. Like, I see her as a bigger villain than Voldemort. And that speaks volumes to her acting because I’m sure she’s just a doll. But… That’s neither here nor there.
I’m not here to talk about that.
I’m here to talk about this performance. I just… where do I start. Mrs. Lovett is in my top 5 favorite roles ever. She’s the reason that I’ve accepted my mama mezzo prowess so I’m INSANELY picky about the performances. There are so many layers to this scene that it’s a bit tough for me to talk about this particular scenes because you never really know what’s going on because there are so many different directions that it can go that change the motives of the character that are so up to the actress/director. This particular audio seems to encompass every thought that this could possibly be.
- “Demons in hell…” - First, and this isn’t particularly relevant, but this delivery sounds so Shakespeare-y. Like, something to do with the witches in MacBeth or something. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me. I’m obsessed with that delivery.
- “Quick, into the oven with her.” - She’s dark and desperate. She needs to get Lucy out of the way. She needs to make sure that Sweeney doesn’t see her. It’s not like a hateful desperate, but it’s so… this could ruin everything she’s been working for. It could ruin everything. He would HATE her and she knows what happens when he hates.
- “He was clutching onto me skirt but now, now he’s finished.” - Suddenly she sounds so scared. I would love to have been able to see this scene for this (among many other) moments. It’s like… the biggest drop. I’d love to see if it was supposed to be like an act or if she played it like she was scared by Mister T… or both.
- “No. Don’t touch her.” - I don’t know what to say about this but just listen. It’s so rich and so… all of the emotions.
- “I was only thinking of you.” - This sounds so small. Like shrunken back and it’s just so sweet and almost childlike.
- “No no not lied at all, no I never lied.” - She sounds so broken. The way I take her Lovett is to have had all of her motions since he was exiled have been for him. Even her “A customer” in Worst Pies. You can hear that she knows. You can hear that suddenly she has this man, her man in front of her and all she wants is to keep him safe. She knows the whole story. She knows what happened to him, to Lucy, to Joanna and she just wants to make it all better. Think of it as the biggest fangirl watching her favorite boy’s life fall apart at the seams and suddenly he’s in front of her and she’s got her moment to make everything better and she won’t let that go.
- “Yes, I lied” - She’s realizing that no matter what, she’s done this the wrong way and now she’s so desperate to make it better. You can almost feel the resignation. Like well I fucked up better make peace with it now.
- “I love you. I’d be twice the wife she was.” - This part. This part is where my poor heart broke that first time. It just. It delivers like a strong punch to the chest. There’s something about the breath before I’d be twice the wife she was. It sounds like… you know when you’re sobbing and you start having those audible wheezing breaths? It’s that. She’s almost hoarse. Like everything that’s happened in the last 2 minutes (even after the whole “tooooby, nothing’s gonna harm you) This particular line makes my chest hurt. Ugh. Flawless.
- “Can we still be married?” - This is just a personal note. LIKE NO DUMB BITCH RUN. THIS MAN IS A MURDERER. YOU MAY BE TOO BUT LIKE GET THE FUCK OUT. SELF PRESERVATION? But… still… that childlike bit from earlier is back and full of hope and it hurts because you know what’s going to happen.
- “By the sea Mister Todd we’ll be comfy cozy, you and me, Mister T, where there’s no one knows-y.” - She has to know what’s happening. like… I don’t know. She sounds so desperate and scared and like… you know the grasping and… like… when your sobbing and clinging to someone. like, I don’t know if you guys are Sex and the City fans but when Carrie is clinging to Aiden at the wedding like “you have to forgive me.” like that, but like real and hurt and ugh. oh my goodness.
- “NO NO” - THIS FUCKING SCREAM. OH MY GOD. I JUST… OH MY GOD. Seriously, I don’t know how to explain. It just hurts so good. Like, how did she scream like that all the time. Oh man.
Okay, well… I guess that’s it. Go buy this cast recording. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, go buy the OLC of Into The Woods. Imelda is like… one of my current new heroes. XD