Monday, May 14, 2007

'Little Shop of Horrors' by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

14 May 2007

Last Saturday we were in London to see the Menier Chocolate Factory production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' which is now at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End. It was an incredibly enjoyable evening - great music in an all-girl-group early rock and roll style, some wonderful comedy, fantastic 'skid-row' set design and a giant man-eating plant (realised here through the amazing puppetry of Andy Heath). I was a big fan of the 1986 film but had never seen the original stage musical (which itself was based on the classic 1959 Roger Corman B-movie). I hadn't realised that the happy ending of the 1986 film was a Hollywood-imposed change - the musical has a much more satisfyingly macabre finale! It was written for a small off-Broadway theatre and works well on the intimate stage at the Duke of York's. Alistair McGowan was great in the show-stopping part of Audrey's sadistic boyfriend (played by Steve Martin in the film) as was Mike McShane as the voice of the plant. His biography in the programme says that McShane "has never played a vegetable, although he's been known to party with them upon occasion." 'Little Shop of Horrors' is a very silly show from which you come out smiling. But remember, "whatever they offer you, don't feed the plants!"

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