Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London – until 22 September 2018
Maria Aberg directs this lively and over-the-top production that fully embraces the madness and quirkiness of the musical.
If there is one message to take away from Little Shop of Horrors, it is most definitely don’t feed the plant! A message that sadly comes too late for many of the characters in one of the most over-the-top musicals I have ever seen.
In the same way that Frankenstein’s creator soon realises the horror of what he has created, Seymour soon realises his new plant creation Audrey II is not exactly what he expected and capable of causing all sorts of chaos. While his newfound fame allows Seymour to gain Audrey’s affections and bring Mr Mushnik’s flower shop out of the shadows on Skid Row, it also leads to some pretty sticky endings for some of the characters that are very imaginatively realised in this production.
But it is clear that so much imagination and creativity has gone into director Maria Aberg’s hilarious and energetic production – not least the way Audrey II transforms from an alien-like puppet to a fully fledged and sassy character in the form of Vicky Vox that really works well within the concept of the show. It is elements such as this that keep the show lively and entertaining, despite the slightness in the story that seems to run out of energy in the second act.
Everything about the production is crammed full of ideas from Tom Scutt’s incredible costumes and easily adaptable set design to Lizzi Gee’s fun and energetic choreography, making it a production well worth watching. But it has to be said that perhaps at times it does get slightly carried away with its numerous ideas that it can become slightly untidy in places by trying to cram too much on the stage.
Yet despite this, there is a great energy about the production that is consistently shown in the way in which musical numbers such as ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Skid Row’ for example which then has a strong impact on the audience and draws them into the production further.
But this energy and liveliness is also reflected in the performances of the cast, all of whom completely embrace themselves in their roles. Marc Antolin as the geeky and shy Seymour completely convey’s the character’s sense of loneliness and isolation that makes him seek comfort in the world of plants and his increasing dependence on Audrey II. His chemistry with Jemima Rooper as Audrey is also sweet and charming to witness. Jemima Rooper’s performance really captures her vulnerability and cuteness, with great vocals to match as her performance of ‘ Somewhere that’s Green’ proves.
Elsewhere, Vicky Vox as Audrey II is suitably sassy and enjoyable to watch as she demands for Seymour to feed her. She has created a formidable character and is immensely enjoyable to watch, particularly during ‘Sudden Changes/Git it’ where Audrey II’s full power emerges. Meanwhile, Matt Willis is also suitably nasty and convincing as the psychotic and abusive Orin, the look of menace on his face as he abuses Audrey is chilling to watch.
Overall, this production of Little Shop of Horrors is suitably entertaining, fully embracing the madness of the story to offer an immensely enjoyable night at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
By Emma Clarendon
Little Shop of Horrors continues to play at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until the 22nd September. To book tickets click here or visit: Love Theatre.com, Encore Tickets, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk or See Tickets.