Little Shop of Horrors is rolling into it’s final week, finishing on the 22-September, and if you’ve not been lucky enough to get along to the show, do it now!
It’s another fantastic production from the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. While the early autumn weather may make the outdoor setting a touch less enticing, the energy and creativity of this production will quickly help you to forget your shivering.
The sets and costume deserve a special mention: the work here by Tom Scutt and his team, alongside director Maria Aberg, is so fun, original and perfectly executed, capitalising on the open air venue and creating a whimsically dilapidated fantasy that instantly draws you in.
And then there’s the cast.
At times unashamedly reminiscent of the Frank Oz update from 1986 – particularly in Marc Antolin’s Seymour and Jemima Rooper’s Audrey. Their similarity is homage though and the energy with which they take on the roles is great.
Matt Willis’s Orin the sadistic dentist suffers in comparison to Steve Martin’s brilliantly broad cinematic version; however, here Willis also gets to impress with the rapid fire bit parts he’s also given to play.
The Chorus too deserve a shout-out: Renée Lamb, Christina Modestou and Seyi Omooba all maintain their characters, energy and presence throughout. They’re as much a pleasure to watch as every other member of the cast.
But front and centre for every production of Little Shop of Horrors is how they deal with the scene (and soul) stealing, homicidal plant from outer space: Audrey II.
Over the years this has been done by a variety of clever props and stage mechanics. That’s the case here too, but Maria Aberg’s great revelation here is the casting of drag queen Vicky Vox as the anthropomorphised incarnation of Audrey II, only visible to the hapless Seymour.
It’s a brilliant conceit and Vicky revels in the greater freedom of movement than most elaborate Audrey II puppets enjoy.
It’s a hammy role, of course, and the relish with which Vicky devours the set, alternately growling and purring her Faustian seduction of Seymour, stomping through the audience in her bedazzled platform heels, is a real pleasure to watch.
This production is a wonderfully conceived and executed confection. Not just a lightweight musical with a stunt-cast lead, 2018’s Little Shop of Horrors is an invigorating, creative showcase that earns it’s standing ovation.
See it in its final week if you can, and remember, whatever you do, no matter what they promise you:
Don’t feed the plants!