There was a breath of fresh air at Everyman Theatre on Monday 17 October 2016, and it had a lot to do with the giant, six-foot plant that took centre stage.
As a huge fan of old, brilliantly bad sci-fi horrors, I was excited to catch this adaptation of the 1960 film, and with fabulous acting, dark humour, gore and more, I was served up a show which was like nothing I’ve seen at the Cheltenham theatre before.
A cult classic and comedy horror, Little Shop of Horrors, burst onto the stage with the eponymous song performed perfectly by the trio, Sasha Latoya, Vanessa Fisher and Cassie Clare, setting the tone of the show as colourful, quirky, and wonderfully choreographed.
Telling the tale of a poor botanist, a man-eating plant named Audrey II, a sadistic dentist and doomed love, the kooky play sees our protagonist, Seymour – played by Sam Lupton – attempt to satisfy his blood-thirsty Venus flytrap-style plant by embarking on a murderous mission.
Boasting a beautiful set, the stage depicted a downtown street and flower shop, while Audrey II was, of course, the most impressive component, with the giant plant opening wide as characters were seemingly consumed – although I suspect this was the magic of a trapped door.
Audiences were treated to the music of the legendary Alan Menken, best known for numerous Walt Disney film scores, with a live band performing the toe-tapping score from the aptly named ‘Music Store’ on stage.
If the younger audience members weren’t scared of the plant yet, they certainly would be of dentists from now on.
A personal highlight of the show was Seymour’s duet, ‘Git It’, with Audrey II, which saw the giant puppet plant come to life in hilarious and horrifying fashion, which seemed to spook some of the younger audience members.
Meanwhile, the real star of the show was X Factor's Rhydian, who played the woman-beating, drug-addicted, evil dentist, Orin, to perfection, in a manic, mesmerising and unnerving performance, which was reminiscent of Jim Carrey’s work.
His signature, opera-like singing brought the play to life, while the lyrics to his solo, ‘You’ll Be a Dentist’, caused ripples of laughter as he sang, ‘son, be a dentist, people will pay you to be inhumane’ – and if the younger audience members weren’t scared of the plant yet, they certainly would be of dentists from now on.
Offering laugh-out-loud scenes, fantastic music, and a smattering of gore, The Little Shop of Horrors offered a frighteningly fun night out at the theatre, with a killer ending that certainly satisfied my appetite for sci-fi horror.
By Alice Lloyd
Little Shop of Horrors will be at Everyman Theatre until Saturday 22 October 2016. For more information see The Little Shop of Horrors at Everyman Theatre, call (01242) 572573 or visit everymantheatre.org.uk directly.
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