Wowcher Reviews Little Shop of Horrors

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Little Shop of Horrors

This week sees the beginning of a nationwide tour of the comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors hit Wimbledon. The show first rose to fame in 1982 before being made into a cult musical movie in 1986. Whilst perhaps not your usual happy-go-lucky West End musical, Little Shop of Horrors certainly packs a punch with its kooky storyline, catchy songs and colourful characters.

The show tells the tale of downtrodden neighbourhood Skid Row and the lives of some of its most unfortunate but sadly most typical inhabitants. Seymour, lifelong orphan, Mr Mushnik, failing plant-shop owner and the desperate Audrey, abused and beaten by her creepy dentist boyfriend, begin the show teetering on the edge of destitution. But then, with true fairy tale timing, Seymour buys and nurtures a rare species of plant and lady luck appears to be finally on their side. While it might sound a little depressing for an evening’s entertainment this summer, Little Shop of Horrors is kept upbeat by the sassy soundtrack and a collection of comical one-liners.

Little Shop of Horrors

Now we’ve got the introductions out of the way, let’s address the elephant in the room – or should we say the big fat man-eating plant in the room. The creation of the all singing, all dancing Audrey II could have been naff and unbelievable, but the team behind this production clearly thought long and hard about not making the plant either of those things. Puppeteer Josh Wilmott and the bellowing voice of Neil Nicholas combine effortlessly make a brilliantly funny and somewhat hypnotising plant that quite literally comes alive on the stage. A shrinking violent, Audrey II certainly is not!

Audrey II’s creator, Seymour, is played by Sam Lupton in a sterling performance – his voice is an asset to the show and his rendition of ‘Call Back in the Morning’, with Stephanie Clift who plays Audrey, is a stand-out moment. The clever choreography using the phone wires could have ended in disaster, but the slickness of the production is showcased in this number. The threesome of punctuate the performance with energy and carry the show effortlessly from scene to scene and song to song. The tall, elegant figure of Cassie Clare who plays Ronnette, stands a head above her cast members, and not just in the literal sense, exuding pure vigour in the way she sings, dances and acts. One to watch out for in the future of theatre, we would say…

Little Shop of Horrors

From a rising star to a familiar face, the casting of ex-opera singer and the X Factor contestant Rhydian could have been risky choice, but he excels in his portrayal of the disturbing and downright dangerous dentist. His vocal ability shines throughout, and he displays considerable acting dexterity in the latter parts of the show as he plays a variety of minor comedic characters. However the heavy reliance on his X Factor fame used in the marketing for this show is perhaps a shame. His face plastered across billboards, banners and show programmes suggests a total lack of confidence in the show as a whole to get bums on seats. The production doesn’t need to mine his somewhat minor celebrity status to entice audiences; the musical is a cult classic that people are eager to see, plus the show and its cast are perfectly capable of wowing theatre audiences up and down the country.

The only criticism we have here at Wowcherland is that the ending left us a little flat. The audience was engaged every step of the way and the atmosphere was totally buzzing, but they were left wanting more. Whilst the final song ‘Mean Green Mother from Out of Space’ is a brilliant piece to bring all the cast together onstage for one last time, we felt a reprise of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ or a medley – everyone loves a medley – of the show’s super songs would have been even better. Overall, though, the show definitely gives people what they want! We think it’s sure to be a smash hit!

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