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The tales surrounding Sweeney Todd's notorious barber shop in London's Fleet Street have entertained generations of audiences and have made Todd himself one of the most famous - or perhaps notorious - characters in the city's history. The Wonderful and Surprising History of Sweeney Todd traces the fortunes of Todd's narrative from its earliest 'proper' appearance as a Victorian 'penny blood' in 1846-47, and then as a popular melodrama on the stage, through to its twentieth-century manifestation in film, ballet, musicals, and opera up to current and future productions, including the forthcoming Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film version of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Broadway masterpiece.
Each successive generation has found a compelling fascination in Sweeney Todd's themes of avarice, ambition, desire, appetite, retribution, justice, and cannibalism. Following in the footsteps of the myth, this fascinating book takes the reader on a jourbaney from the roots of the story in the alleyways and pie-shops of Victorian London to its modern incarnations on stage, screen and in popular culture.