The third part in this tale entitled: “The String of Pearls” is the closing of the mystery subplot. At the end, we know all about what’s in the meat pies. If you didn’t already know. What makes the end of this part an interesting place to stop is because the audience is probably disgusted (if they didn’t know what was in the pies) and/or is wondering: what next? And that’s all in the last scene.
What about the scenes before? The scenes before are used to build tension. When the friend of the deceased sailor, the one whom Joanna was supposed to marry, decides to infiltrate Sweeney Todd establishment in disguise the audience gasps and desperately wants to jump into the story and reveal everything they know. Shakespeare did it in Romeo and Juliet, but it wasn’t nearly as effective as it was in here. This is probably do to the different form of language. Yuri Rasovsky (the author of this audio tale) doesn’t require an optional side-by-side translation. It’s clear enough on its own.
The tension in the middle made the ending revelation that much more evocative. For lack of a better term, it foreshadowed the tone of the end. I’m not a huge fan of cliffhangers that aren’t necessary. I know that some genres and mediums rely strongly on this writing tool, but I’m talking about the cheap kind. It’s the same principle as seeing the writer’s hand, swoop down and influence the story. Such an example is when someone opens a door and we don’t see what is behind the door. That’s a pretty standard, if not cliche, way of putting it.
This part of Sweeney Todd achieves the successful cliffhanger.