Thursday, September 16, 2010
Little Shop of Horrors @The Birmingham Rep, Monday 13th September 2010
After standing in a queue for 26 years, 13 days, 7 hours and 26 minutes I finally managed to ‘score’ some cut price theatre tickets from the Artsfest ticket booth. Oh deep joy. Happily one of the deals on offer was for this show, The Rep’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. If you’re unfamiliar with the story it’s yer basic ‘struggling florist’s assistant discovers alien plant, feeds it blood, then human bodies’ tale...you...er... know the sort of thing. Like the Rocky Horror Picture Show it’s a little bit kitsch, a trifle OTT and stuffed full of, by now, iconic (to the show’s many fans in any case) tunes.
I’d not seen the show on stage before and only have a vague memory of watching the 80’s musical film (itself based on an earlier 60’s B-movie) so tonight was pretty much a new experience all round. A soundtrack stuffed full of doo wop, rock n’roll and soul and a talented, enthusiastic cast (many of whom also played in the band when they weren’t acting or singing...I think that’s a bit of a tradition with this show) guaranteed a good time from the opening number (Skid Row...you can see the original film version on the video above this review...ain't I good to you eh?). A clever set (something of a forte at the Rep) transported you to the musical’s skid row setting and an expressive series of Audrey II puppets made the idea of a giant man eating plant as realistic as it’s meant to be. Big luvvie hugs to all the cast, but James Haggie (who played the show’s protagonist Seymour) also deserves a special mention for capturing his character’s hapless inner nerd and delivering some great vocal performances. It’s the guy who ‘did’ the voice of the Audrey II, Cavin Cornwall, who wins best in show for me though. On top of nailing the voice (how the hell do you ‘voice’ a man eating plant...), a potent mix of soul singer, preacher and pimp, he came on at the end and delivered one of the sexiest rubber limbed ass shakings ever seen. The dude can sing. The dude can dance. The dude’s...ahem...plantastic.
PS: The ‘plantastic’ pun is courtesy of Lady B. You can blame her...