After 26 weeks in the West End (Duke of York’s Theatre & the Ambassadors) and 14 weeks at its original home, the Menier Chocolate Factory, the critically acclaimed production of Little Shop of Horrors will close on Saturday 8 September prior to a UK tour, “currently being booked for 2008.” Casting for the tour has not yet been announced.

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s musical is loosely based on Roger Corman’s popular low-budget 1960 film about a plant with an appetite for blood. Nerdy orphan Seymour works in Mr Mushnik’s Skid Row florist shop, along with girl of his dreams Audrey, who is dating Scrivello. After a solar eclipse, Seymour discovers a peculiar plant with a bloodthirsty appetite, which he names Audrey II. As his infatuation with the real Audrey grows, so does the plant.

Following a Christmas season at the Southwark-based Chocolate Factory, which saw the production win a Whatonstage.com Theatregoer’s Choice Award for Best Off West End Production, Little Shop of Horrors transferred to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre on 12 March (See WOS TV, 13 Mar 2007). It moved to its current home on 28 June (See News, 24 May 07).

The cast currently features Sheridan Smith (Audrey), Paul Keating (Seymour), Mike McShane (Audrey II), Barry James (Mushnik), Alistair McGowan (The Dentist), Jenny Fitzpatrick (Ronette), Katie Kerr (Chiffon) and Melitsa Nicola (Crystal) who, with the exception of McGowan, have all been with the production since it opened at the Menier. The 1986 film version of the musical starred Rick Moranis as Seymour, Steve Martin as the Dentist and Ellen Greene as Audrey, a role Greene originated on stage.

Little Shop of Horrors was previously seen in the West End in October 1983 at the Comedy Theatre, where it ran for two. In that premiere production, Barry James, now playing flower-shop owner Mushnik in this revival, starred as Seymour.

No production has yet been confirmed to follow Little Shop of Horrors in to the Ambassadors.

- by Ryan Woods