Cult-classic Little Shop of Horrors, is based on a 1960s film of the same name, with music by Alan Menken and words by Howard Ashman. It’s a delightful spoof of sci-fi horror and tells a rather silly tale of a timid florist shop boy Seymour, who wins fame but more importantly the girl (co-worker Audrey) when he discovers a new species of plant, Audrey II. His plant unfortunately has rather specific tastes and Seymour must make some difficult decisions in order to ensure that Audrey II stays fed and happy!
In this production director Paul Taylor-Mills has not only done away with the traditional Audrey II puppets, replacing them with the three actors (who also play the Ronettes), but also swaps nightly those actors - one night boys and one night girls. In this performance the ladies (Laura Mansell, Olga Marie-Pratt and Chloe Akam) own the stage and are an extremely sensuous and delightfully vicious Audrey II, a bizarre mix akin to Disney’s Herculian greek chorus and Macbeth’s witches which oddly works.
Ross Barnes’ Seymour is suitably timid without being dull while Ceris Hine catches the ditsiness of Audrey with ease, her poignant rendition of “Somewhere That’s Green” showing otherwise hidden depths. Rudi Last, as Audrey’s abusive dentist boyfriend, revels in his role with real Elvis-like flair although unfortunately he did struggle a little with the laughing-gas mask in his final scene. The whole cast work hard, particularly the chorus, wind-milling their arms and box-stepping with glee along to Jodie-Lee Wilde’s clever choreography which utilises the small space well especially in big numbers like "Skid Row (Downtown)". Considering the small size of the venue the cast would do well to moderate their voices to the space, the force of the big group numbers being sometimes a little overbearing – a small disappointment given the strength of the show as a whole.
All in all this is a thoroughly entertaining production and does justice to the cult-status of Little Shop of Horrors not least because the cast are really enjoying themselves and give the audience a taste too!