Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Little Shop of Horrors

“Witty, affectionate and effervescent”
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Stephen Mear’s production of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s horror-musical about a bad-ass, bloodthirsty plant paradoxically manages to find something new in the material by taking it back to its B-movie origins. This makes for a delightful sci-fi spectacular, with more sass and swagger than an Elvis hip-thrust.

Though the shenanigans of likeable schlump Seymour (Joshua Lay) and his silky-voiced plant-pal (Ryan O’Gorman) are given a cartoonish edge, Mear’s dynamic choreography, and the tight band and vocals, keep everything on the right side of pantomimic excess.

Michelle Bishop’s take on Audrey, the damsel in distress from Skid Row, is stellar. It takes real skill and wit to bring genuine vulnerability to such a one-dimensional role and Bishop transforms Somewhere That’s Green, a comic ode to suburbia, into a genuine tearjerker.

Cindy Belliot, Emily-Mae and Tanisha Spring make for a strong du-whopping chorus of downtown reprobates. Stephane Anelli, as sadistic dentist Orin, is a little overshadowed, but he sinks his teeth into an especially creepy death-rattle version of It’s Just the Gas.

Though designer Jess Curtis’ interpretation of Audrey II calls to mind Greta, the lady gremlin from Gremlins 2, the plant-puppet is a curiously static presence in such an animated show. Despite having wheels – and, later, legs in its PacMan-style final form – the murderous magnolia remains firmly rooted.

It’s a shame, as the rest of Curtis’ design for the show is as energised as Mear’s effervescent direction. But, even though Audrey II is a bit toothless, it doesn’t diminish this full-bloom production.

Chester Storyhouse’s Andrew Bentley and Alex Clifton: ‘The term ‘regional theatre’ is poisonous: every theatre’s a community theatre’


Related to this Review

Peaches Christ’s Drag Becomes HerPeaches Christ’s Drag Becomes Her

Production Details
Production nameLittle Shop of Horrors
VenueStoryhouse
LocationChester
StartsMay 10, 2019
EndsJune 2, 2019
Running time1hr 55mins
ComposerAlan Menken
Book writerHoward Ashman
LyricistHoward Ashman
DirectorStephen Mear
Musical directorAlex Beetschen
ChoreographerStephen Mear
Set designerJess Curtis
Costume designerJess Curtis
Lighting designerTim Lutkin
Sound designerBen Harrison
CastBrett Shiels, Cindy Belliot, Emily-Mae ., Joshua Lay, Michelle Bishop, Ryan O’Gorman, Stephane Anelli, Tanisha Spring, Tony Timberlake
ProducerStoryhouse
VerdictWitty and affectionate rendition of everyone's favourite B movie killer-plant musical
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Francesca Peschier

Francesca Peschier

Francesca Peschier

Francesca Peschier

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Linked In
Pinterest
YouTube