[Review] Little Shop of Horrors

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Little Shop of Horrors
The Playhouse Theatre
QPAC Thursday June 2

First made popular in the early 80s the theatre heavy weight is back to introduce a whole new audience to the blood- thirsty plant that wreaks havoc on a small time Florist shop.

When we meet our loveable geek Seymour Krelborn he is a down-on-his- luck loser slaving away thankless at Mushnik’s Flower Shop down on Skid Row and secretly in love with his beautiful co- worker Audrey. When Mushnik threatens to close the business, Audrey convinces Seymour to show Mushnik the plant, an exotic specimen purchased from a Chinese store during a solar eclipse that he has dubbed Audrey Two.

At first Audrey Two is great for business, people flock from all over New York to witness the spectacle. But when Seymour makes the grisly discovery that Audrey Two needs human blood to survive he must make the difficult choice between fame, fortune and the survival of anyone willing to get in Audrey Two’s way. The sinister foul- mouthed singing carnivore will stop at nothing to take over the world and devour anything that gets in its way.

With the first act entirely monochromatic it is an interesting way to portray Seymour’s pre- Audrey life on Skid Row and an effacious stage design tool. Whilst the play is somewhat of a classic it brings a fresh feel to the production and highlights the pre- Audrey Two aspect of the story effectively. Post Audrey – Two is all about vivid colour and larger than life costuming. As Audrey grows into the larger than life demon plant the stage design and puppetering complimenting each other.

What is interesting to note is the minor sub-plot of the heroine Audrey’s abusive boyfriend. In a climate where domestic violence is at the forefront of the media it’s a little confronting to see acts of violence towards a woman on stage, and leaves the question hanging – is this still appropriate for audiences today? However when Audrey’s abusive boyfriend The Dentist gets what is coming to him there is a collective cheer through out and a sigh of relief.

With all of the cast giving amazing performances it is the hapless and unlucky in love Audrey that shines. Multiple-award winner Esther Hannaford, brings her to life with a quirky Brooklyn accent that is deliciously humorous. The audience can’t help but feel pathos for her as she dreams about a home and her own patch of green during the musical number ” Somewhere That’s Green”.

Little Shop of Horrors was first introduced to the stage in 1983 when it was adapted from a 1960s movie of the same name. It’s had many incantations, including the Rick Moranis movie and with its black humour and impressive doo-wop singers the production will continue to delight audiences for many more years to come.

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