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A CurtainUp London Review
Little Shop of Horrors
I suppose it is crucial that the plant looks good and puppet creators Artem Limited have excelled in this exponentially, expanding lush green specimen which would not disgrace the Tropical House at Kewís Royal Botanic Gardens. In the final scene I shrunk away as the eerie tentacles stretched far out into the auditorium. The flowers on the final vast plant which feature the faces of the consumed plant food, people of course, is a charming if macabre touch. Thirty four people are listed in the programme as being involved in constructing the plant. From the opening scene with the combined singing talents of the weird street sisters Chiffon (Katie Kerr), Crystal (Melitsa Nicola) and Ronette (Jenny Fitzpatrick) who stare at the audience in a angrily sinister and deranged way, director Matthew White has commanded our full attention and made us grin at the same time.
I liked the way Skid Row was established as a difficult and seedy area in which to run a flower shop with the colourful local residents dancing an angular stylised choreography which would not have looked out of place in Rocky Horror. The designer has dressed everyone in fun 1960s costumes, the dentistís biker leathers and Audreyís little pink mini dresses with high heels for her to totter around on. The set with its brick dominated slum back drop is also perfect and there are enjoyable jokes like the advice to the actors to get out of the way of the moving scenery. In these walk on roles is the ever present Jasper Britton whose subtle clowning skills are second to none in the cameos. As the sadistic dentist with a penchant for laughing gas and crocodile clips on his nipples, he is at the same time oddly seductive and interestingly scary. Later three quick costume changes have Britton arriving onstage as various representatives of the news media culminating in the charming and fashionable wife of the editor of Life magazine.
Sheridan Smith as blonde shop girl Audrey is sweetness and light with a lovely singing voice but she is so short sighted that without her glasses she comically walks into doors. Her inability to see Seymour as a suitor is one of the drivers of the play as boy is destined to win girl from evil dentist only to lose her to his other passion. Paul Keating has always had musical star potential and he is perfectly cast here as the chap who loves both Audreys. I enjoyed the characterisation too of the shop owner, Mr Mushnik (Barry James). The song "Mushnik and Son" is a celebration of close Jewish family ties and wonderful Israeli music. Mike McShane is the deep voice of Audrey II and Andy Heath is the pupeteer.
Menkenís rock music is fun and accessible, Ashmanís lyrics are full of wit and black humour. Tickets to Little Shop of Horrors are the perfect Christmas present! Donít miss it!
The Menier has a restaurant which offers meal deals with show tickets from just £20 and the featured recipes on the menu may link in with the show! Booking for the restaurant on 020 7378 1712.
For plot details and the complete song list see link to the New York production
Little Shop of Horrors
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.