So I finally made it and, frankly, it was well worth the wait. I should confess before we start that I’m not a huge (my italics) fan of Sondheim. Don’t get me wrong, I like him well enough but I always think of him as a sort of musical Tom Stoppard i.e. clever-clever musical theatre for the chattering classes. I can never quite shake the feeling that everyone’s sitting there thinking “look, look, how smart I am to actually understand this!” And I’m not necessarily bowled over by everything Tim Burton does either, so I approached this film with more than a little trepidation. But I was VERY pleasantly surprised for three reasons. First of all, the whole thing looks so gorgeous, beautifully designed with, naturally, Burton’s signature surreal gothic touch. Secondly, it bowls along at a cracking pace. And thirdly, Helena Bonham-Carter turns in an absolutely TREMENDOUS performance, she is just wonderful in this – not what I was expecting at all. On the downside, though I love him and think he’s a great actor, Johnny Depp looks a bit lost, as if he’s not quite sure what he’s doing here. Part Keith Richards, part Edward Scissorhands, the whole topped off with a Cruella De Vil wig, he flounders a bit with the acting (I’ve seen him do that intense yet slightly puzzled look too many times) and struggles with the singing. You need a big voice for Sweeney and Johnny just doesn’t have one. But I’d see it again just for Helena’s tour de force and a wonderful cameo from Sacha Baron Cohen as Adolfo Pirelli. Great fun.