Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls: An Audio Melodrama in Three Despicable Acts

Written, produced, and directed by Yuri Rasovsky
Read by a full cast

2.33 Hours 01/01/2006 audio theater
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The insidious Fleet Street barber slit his first throat in an 1846 “penny dreadful,” one of those gaudy serialized novels that gleefully offered thrills and gore to sensation-hungry Victorians. Titled The String of Pearls, it told of Sweeney Todd, whose shop stood next to St. Dunstan’s Church, just a few blocks from the Royal Courts of Justice. On this site, he robbed and murdered hundreds of customers. To dispose of their remains, he carried them to an underground bakery of one Mrs. Lovett, whose pie shop was a few blocks away. She ground the cadavers into stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite midday repast of the lawyers who worked nearby and who got their shaves from Sweeney Todd. The man you lunched with yesterday could be your lunch today! Before the serial’s final chapters even hit the stands, the first stage version, pirated from the already published installments, was packing them in at a London theater. Since then there have been numerous stage, literary, and screen versions of the story, most notably the hit Sondheim musical. Blackstone Audio has commissioned this, the first audio version of the tale, from the Audie® award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear (The Sherlock Holmes Theatre, The Oresteia). With tongue in cheek, writer/producer/director Yuri Rasovsky has gone all the way back to the original penny dreadful to imbue an old string of pearls with new luster—and fresh blood.

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Summary

Summary

Audie Award Winner in Three Categories

The insidious Fleet Street barber slit his first throat in an 1846 “penny dreadful,” one of those gaudy serialized novels that gleefully offered thrills and gore to sensation-hungry Victorians. Titled The String of Pearls, it told of Sweeney Todd, whose shop stood next to St. Dunstan’s Church, just a few blocks from the Royal Courts of Justice. On this site, he robbed and murdered hundreds of customers. To dispose of their remains, he carried them to an underground bakery of one Mrs. Lovett, whose pie shop was a few blocks away. She ground the cadavers into stuffing for her meat pies, the favorite midday repast of the lawyers who worked nearby and who got their shaves from Sweeney Todd. The man you lunched with yesterday could be your lunch today!

Before the serial’s final chapters even hit the stands, the first stage version, pirated from the already published installments, was packing them in at a London theater. Since then there have been numerous stage, literary, and screen versions of the story, most notably the hit Sondheim musical. Blackstone Audio has commissioned this, the first audio version of the tale, from the Audie® award-winning Hollywood Theater of the Ear (The Sherlock Holmes TheatreThe Oresteia). With tongue in cheek, writer/producer/director Yuri Rasovsky has gone all the way back to the original penny dreadful to imbue an old string of pearls with new luster—and fresh blood.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The gruesome plot is played tongue in cheek and laced with comic and satiric elements. Performances are strong throughout. W. Morgan Sheppard is especially delectable as Todd…Robertson Dean does a fine turn with a seldom-attempted rural accent. Sound effects and music are used frequently and well, and the drama is punctuated with amusing and well-done songs, mostly traditional. This is a spirited and entertaining production.” AudioFile
“Fond as I am of all things Stephen Sondheim, I just couldn’t bring myself to see the Johnny Depp film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. All that spurting blood! A better, lighter and more comic version (if subject matter involving a throat-slitting barber and an accomplice who bakes his victims into pies can be considered comic) is Yuri Rasovsky’s Sweeney Todd and the String of Pearls: An Audio Melodrama in Three Despicable Acts. This 2 1/2-hour audiobook won three 2008 Audie Awards from the Audio Publishers Association, for best original work, audio drama, and achievement in production, and it truly is fantastic…This melodrama is told with a full cast, nicely narrated by Martin Jarvis. W. Morgan Sheppard’s Todd has a delightfully creepy snorting laugh and an ominous way of suggesting to his clients that he’ll be ready to ‘polish them off.’ Rosalind Ayres provides excellent voices for both Mrs. Lovett and Johanna. Musical enhancement between chapters comes from Tony Barrand and John Roberts. Every aspect of ‘An Audio Melodrama in Three Despicable Acts’ is top drawer, with each character definitively voiced. It’s great fun to hear, with terrific sound effects (the trapdoor into the underground chamber makes a hideous clang, and the chamber below echoes with groans of those awaiting their ultimate fate).” Herald Tribune (Sarasota, Florida)

Reviews

Reviews

by Tamim 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Chilling!

Yuri Rasovsky's Sweeny Todd is one of the best performances of this piece I've heard. Fantastic performance, great audio environments, you won't be able to stop listening!

Author

Author Bio: Yuri Rasovsky

Yuri Rasovsky (1944–2012) won wide critical acclaim during his forty-year career as an audio dramatist, writer, producer, and director. His numerous honors included two Peabody Awards, nine Audie Awards, and a Grammy. In 2011, his production for Blackstone, The Mark of Zorro, was nominated for a Grammy. His final production for Blackstone before his death was Die, Snow White! Die, Damn You! He has left behind an incredible legacy.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 2.33
Audience: Adult
Language: English