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Review: Little Shop of Horrors

Theatre

Campy, creepy and seriously good fun … the Australian revival of “Little Shop of Horrors” is a joyous celebration of musical theatre.

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“Feed me … feed me!” With those ominous words, the murderous plant known as Audrey II makes its deathly demands.

And Seymour Krelborn, the sad and lovesick shop boy seduced by the lure of a better life, obediently feeds the plant’s insatiable bloodlust.

The Little Shop plot is so well-known from its many stage iterations, and the 1986 film adaptation starring Steve Martin, that it’s hard to imagine something new. But that’s just what the producers have achieved with this delightful Australian revival.

It’s campy, it’s creepy and it’s seriously good fun, from the B-Grade movie news-reel opening (with a very popular special guest cameo) to the dramatic final moments.

The ensemble cast with Audrey II. Photo: Jeff Busby

The ensemble cast with Audrey II. Photo: Jeff Busby

This is very much an ensemble production, with great synergy between the cast members.  Brent Hill is fully believable as Seymour, the mild-mannered orphan who unleashes the floral fury.  Esther Hannaford is perfect as Audrey, a vulnerable woman with an inner strength.  Tyler Coppin shows a talent for Jewish schtick, and a touch of the Cossacks, as Mr Mushnik, the failing flower-shop owner.  And Scott Johnson rounds out the cast as Orin Scrivello, the manic dentist of your worst nightmare.

Audrey ll, the real star of the show, was designed and built by the talented crew at Erth Visual and Physical Inc.  And in an original twist, the plant is voiced by Brent Hill. This is a clever nuance that went unnoticed for much of the official opening performance.

The show is unified by the regular appearance of Angelique Cassimatis, Chloe Zuel and Josie Lane as a Latino-styled Greek chorus.  They are strong and sexy and have powerful voices.  Cassimatis, in particular, shines on stage, especially in the intimacy of Her Majesty’s.

The set,  designed by Owen Phillips, is a lesson in dramatic understatement and is complemented perfectly by Ross Graham’s lighting design.  The choreography (Andrew Hallsworth) and costumes (Tim Chappel) are perfect for the milieu.  And the musicians, so often forgotten in the pit, are vibrant under the direction of Andrew Worboys.

Everything about this production is brilliantly executed, and it all comes together as a joyous celebration of musical theatre.  It deserves a full house every night, so don’t miss out!

Little Shop of Horrors, presented by Luckiest Productions & Tinderbox Productions, is at Her Majesty’s Theatre until April 30.

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