The epic story of man meets plant, plant eats man! Botanophobes beware: Front Row Centre’s theatrical production of the carnivorous cult classic Little Shop of Horrors is already in full swing, and if its star Audrey II gets its way, then we’ll all have a future in fertilizer!
The plot centers on a mousy florist’s assistant, Seymour, whose two passions in life are exotic plants and his not-quite-Mensa-material-co-worker Audrey. Right after an inexplicable total eclipse of the sun, Seymour buys his strangest plant yet and names it after his unrequited love. The plant attracts money, love and fame to Seymour’s dilapidated shop, but little does he know the plant’s penchant for blood will drive him to ever-greater extremes to keep the good times rolling!
Based upon the 1960 Roger Corman film, which spawned the 1982 musical composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors has become one of the most popular off-Broadway shows of all-time. This is likely because it’s crammed full of cheerfully macabre, hilarious songs. It’s the Rocky Horror Picture Show without the cross-dressing. The accompanying music is all played live from just off-stage, which adds a richness to the musical numbers that a recording doesn’t do justice.
The fantastic puppetry design of the almighty Audrey II combines with the music, dance, and acting to create a well-rounded, thoroughly absorbing production that will give audiences and their brain cells a bit of a break. Fleshed out with a cast of energetic and bizarre characters, Little Shop of Horrors is comic gold. In the execution of the production, director Joey Sayer followed the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and thus very little was changed from the 1986 screen interpretation. That doesn’t make the play any less worth the ticket price, though. After all, you can’t go wrong in the intimate setting of the Pumphouse Theatres, because there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Overall, Front Row Centre has done an admirable job in capturing a vintage feel in the production, the slapstick humour of the script, and the sympathetic human element that makes us all root for Seymour–even if he does contemplate feeding people to a plant