Hannah Kitchener

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As the audience discovers in the final scene of the musical, the Beggar Woman is, in fact, Lucie, Benjamin Barker’s once-beautiful, virtuous and naive wife. After Barker is transported to Australia on trumped up charges, Lucie is lured to Judge Turpin’s home and — in the midst of an elaborate masquerade party — brutally raped by Judge Turpin. Traumatized, she takes poison — presumably to kill herself — and apparently sinks into a manic, drug-addled, sex-crazed, perhaps psychotic state from which she never fully recovers. Other than a brief flashback (in which Lucie is portrayed by a different actor), this fallen, frightened woman — the Beggar Woman — is all we see of the person Lucie once was. During the first act, the Beggar Woman switches with astonishing rapidity between two modes: desperate and pathetic (“Alms! Alms!”) and aggressive and sexual (“Hey hoy, sailor boy!”). In the second act, she is increasingly disturbed by the stinking smoke from Lovett’s chimney, and seems deeply unhinged by her sense that something is very wrong. This unease is probably what draws her to Sweeney’s parlour, where the audience is finally given one brief glimpse, during the “Beggar Woman’s Lament,” of the Lucie whom Barker loved.

Beggar Woman

Beggar Woman
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