Whatsonstage.com doesn’t normally cover film openings, but this one was a cut above the rest – and impossible to resist (See The Goss, 13 Dec 2007). Tim Burton’s lushly dark Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the stage-to-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 Victorian London-set musical thriller, received its European premiere last night (10 January 2007) at the Odeon, Leicester Square.

Our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was there on the red carpet to snap Burton and the stars of the film including: Johnny Depp (as Sweeney), Helena Bonham Carter (Mrs Lovett), Alan Rickman (Judge Turpin), Timothy Spall (Beadle Bamford), Laura Michelle Kelly (Beggar Woman), Jayne Wisener (Johanna), Jamie Campbell Bower (Anthony) and Ed Sanders (Toby).

Amongst the other stars invited to the screening and the after-show party at the Royal Courts of Justice were: Christopher Biggins, Mark Ronson, Paul Whitehouse and Ruby Wax. Sadly, Sondheim himself was not able to attend, but the composer/lyricist, who had casting approval, has given his endorsement of Burton’s film and in particular Depp’s performance as Todd, the actor’s musical debut.

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According to Sondheim: “Johnny Depp’s performance is quite remarkable. Sweeney’s desire for revenge and the simmering anger and hurt that he feels carry the story forward, and Johnny finds the most remarkable variety within that narrow set of emotions. The intensity is at a boil all the time and he never drops it. It’s real anger.”

Sweeney Todd is the sixth collaboration between Depp and Burton following Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow. It’s released in cinemas across the UK from 25 January 2008.

- by Terri Paddock