Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sweeney Todd In Spanish Kind Of Sucks

Many, many moons ago when I was studying in Spain, I had the opportunity to go see the musical "Rent" in Madrid. This proved to be a traumatic experience on a number of levels, which ended with me riding around the subway for a couple of hours until my brain could calm down through the use of the soothing mantra of "Proxima Parada. . . " It was Spanish being used the right way, and not Spanish being horribly manipulated into a phrasal line that only had room for a fixed number of English syllables.

So you'd think I would have learned my lesson about musicals in translation waaaaaaaayyyyyy back in the day. But I still like red wine mixed with flat Coca-cola, too, so apparently some things just don't stick.

Which brings us to Sweeney Todd.

I like Sweeney Todd. For those not familiar with the show, the basic point is there's a man who's been wronged and returns to London as a barber with a plan to set things right. Only he goes a little crazy, and starts killing his clients. He happens to live above a meat pie shop . . . and well, it's really good anyway.

These are my favorite Sweeney Todd songs, as interpreted by the cast of the movie - Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and yeah, the barber is the man occasionally known as Borat.

Pirelli's Miracle Elixer:

The Shaving Contest:

A Little Priest:

Notice how each of these rely on rhyme and rhythm in English. Just for future reference.

So, KW and I were going to have a girl's night out. We discussed movies, but there wasn't anything worth turning up at the theater for and then we heard that Sweeney Todd was going to be on - for free - at the big Banco Central theater. Spanish tenors, full cast, etc.

And I foolishly thought it would be in English. So we went, waited in line, and got seats in the back of the house. As the lights came up and the orchestra began, I could tell I was excited.

Silly, silly me.

The barbaro brutal de Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, is not that good in Spanish if what you really like is the way the songs go . . . in English. Still, they tried to put on a good show and it was very well attended. The line of people outside at intermission waiting to get in eased the conscience of cutting out after the first act, but it just wasn't right in the other language.

At least I can have the videos as comfort . . . !

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