Little Shop of Horrors: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Reviewed 30th August 2018
The mad tale of the mean, green mother from outer space has been completely reimagined and reinvented by the director Maria Aberg for the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, so much so that it is like seeing this celebrated show come alive for the very first time. Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of the flower shop assistant, Seymour, who discovers a new type of plant. Except this plant has the taste for blood and killer potential. Mix in a love affair with Audrey, newfound fame and fortune, an eccentric dentist who thrives on pain and you have a thrilling, exciting and exuberant musical on your hands. With music by Alan Menken this smash hit has already been astounding audiences and it’s easy to see why.
The set and costume design by Tom Scutt is utterly fantastic. The grimy, greyscale landscape of Skid Row complete with garbage sacks and trolleys offset the vivid greens seen in Musnik’s florist and the bright costumes excellently. Every element has been thought about and the attention to detail is second to none. The clever use of everyday items to create the plants is especially impressive, who’d have thought using toilet brushes as roses could be so effective? Tom Scutt also designed the outrageous costumes all of which are superb! Each costume is completely fitting for the character and moment on stage. The finale routine and the tremendous outfits are worth the ticket price alone.
Marc Antolin gives a brilliant performance as the character of Seymour; awkward and nervous but eager to provide a fresh start for Audrey, played fantastically by Jemima Rooper. Marc’s vocals are great, as you would expect, but it is his relationship with Audrey II that really impresses. For this production the creative team wanted to shake things up and Audrey II is played by the American Drag Queen, Vicky Vox – this is probably the best casting decision ever made! Vicky owns the stage. She commands attention from the audience immediately and isn’t afraid to shock. Once seen you’ll never look at a plant in the same way again. The Ronnettes, played by Renee Lamb, Christina Modestou and Seyi Omooba, ooze sass and attitude. Their vocals are on fire throughout the show. Matt Willis’ evil, dastardly Orin the evil dentist is great fun. Add to this mix a immensely talented ensemble team, all of whom are able to take on many roles throughout the show aided by the terrific costumes and you have something truly special.
The clever casting, splendid set and costumes and Lizzi Gee’s innovative choreography all work together to create a brand new show, unlike any other versions of this musical seen before. Alan Menken’s score is catchy and hilarious at the same time. ‘Skid Row’, ‘Somewhere That’s Green’, ‘The Meek Shall Inherit’ and ‘Don’t Feed The Plant‘ are just some of the many stand-out songs that this exceedingly talented cast deliver during the performance. All sure to stick in the audience’s heads and leave them humming on their way out of the park. Little Shop of Horrors takes risks but they all pay off and result in an exceptional night out at the theatre that audiences won’t forget. It can’t fail to leave audience members grinning from ear-to-ear whilst at the same time reminding them to not ‘feed the plant‘.
Little Shop of Horrors runs until the 22nd September 2018, for information or tickets for Little Shop of Horrors click here.
Photo Credit: Johan Persson