‘Little Shop of Horrors’ review

Theatre, Musicals Regent's Park Open Air Theatre , Regent's Park Until Saturday September 22 2018
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
 (© Johan Persson)
1/8
© Johan Persson Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin as Audrey and Seymour
 (© Johan Persson)
2/8
© Johan Persson Jemima Rooper as Audrey
 (© Johan Persson)
3/8
© Johan Persson Marc Antolin and Jemima Rooper as Seymour and Audrey, and Company.
 (© Johan Persson)
4/8
© Johan Persson Marc Antolin as Seymour
 (© Johan Persson)
5/8
© Johan Persson Matt Willis and Marc Antolin as Orin and Seymour
 (© Johan Persson)
6/8
© Johan Persson Matt Willis as Orin
 (© Johan Persson)
7/8
© Johan Persson Seyi Omooba, Renée Lamb and Christina Modestou as Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette
 (© Johan Persson)
8/8
© Johan Persson Vicky Vox as Audrey II

Book theatre tickets

Exuberantly OTT outdoor production of the camp classic musical

The already gloriously OTT tale of Audrey II, the rampaging man-eating plant, and those unlucky enough to fall into her feeding range, gets an extra twist in Maria Aberg’s exuberant open-air production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.

Here, Audrey II is no mere puppet (although at meal times there are plenty of green-clad stagehands waving tentacles). No, when she reaches full maturity, she is transformed into human shape – specifically the fierce and fabulous form of American drag queen Vicky Vox, who stalks the stage in killer heels, rainbow wig and skin-tight sequins, bellowing ‘Feed me’ in a voice like a Chicago house diva while spritzing her bits with a plant mister.

It says a lot about the rest of the cast that they can hold their own against Vox’s riotous interventions. But everyone throws themselves into the anarchic humour of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s cult classic musical. Marc Antolin as dweeby Seymour, who makes a Faustian pact with the nightmare plant – her nurture in exchange for his fame and riches – is both manically daft and touchingly troubled. Jemima Rooper as Audrey, the object of Seymour’s affection, deals adroitly with the dodgy humour around her being an abuse victim – and sings so sweetly about her dream of suburban mediocrity in ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ that it brings a tear to your eye.

Matt Willis (of Busted fame) is savagely silly as Orin, her sadistic, nitrous oxide-huffing dentist-biker boyfriend – then increasingly game for a laugh in a series of cameos in the second half. And the chorus of Christina Modestou, Seyi Omooba and Renée Lamb keep the energy up as they blast through the sassy soul, doo-wop and rock ’n’ roll inspired musical numbers.

Tom Scutt’s inventive design – a cartoonish, post-apocalyptic New York-cum-demolished drive-in movie theatre – is fun, but doesn’t leave a lot of room for the cast to manoeuvre through Lizzi Gee’s peppy choreography. His costume designs, however, for the finale of ‘Don’t Feed the Plants’, have to be seen to be believed. And what a perfect setting for a slice of horticultural horror – the trees whispering and swaying above the theatre stage have never looked so menacing.

By: Siobhan Murphy

Posted:

Venue name: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Contact:
Address: Inner Circle
Regent's Park
London
NW1 4NR
Opening hours: Check website for show times
Transport: Tube: Baker St
Price: £25-£59. Runs 2hr 5min
Static map showing venue location
    • Regent's Park Open Air Theatre £25-£59. Runs 2hr 5min
    • Regent's Park Open Air Theatre £25-£59. Runs 2hr 5min
    • Regent's Park Open Air Theatre £25-£59. Runs 2hr 5min

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|2
2 people listening

The weather gods were smiling when I attended this fabulously flamboyant staging of the cult classic. There really is no better place to be on a fine summers evening than the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Didn’t realise until I read the programme that the composer was also responsible for several Disney classics including The Little Mermaid. The songs are brilliant- funny, catchy & performed with gusto by a talented & enthusiastic cast. Vicky Vox as Audrey II deserves special mention. Matt Willis was a surprise delight too- so good I didn’t even recognise him! Highly recommended dark but infectious fun!

Tastemaker

​​Carnivorous plants, a whole slew of belting show-tunes and a foxy drag queen who smashes all kinds of fierce into Regent's Park...this is 'Little Shop of Horrors' and it's one of the best things I have ever seen on stage. I'm not gonna bother trying to play it cool here because what would be the point? This is a fan-freaking-tastic delight of a show and I absolutely loved it.


If you're familiar with the film - and I'm a huge, unashamed fan girl of every toe-tapping, gruesomely hilarious minute - then watching the show come to life in front of you is a real treat. The setting is absolutely gorgeous - tucked away in one of London's greenest & leafiest spaces, I highly recommend picnicking outside before entering - and there are no bad seats in the whole of the not-quite-in-the-round-stage-but-close-to-two-thirds auditorium. New York's Skid Row is cleverly depicted through towering shopping trolleys & a palette of grey and from the first blow-the-cobwebs-away tune to the last outstanding finale, every scene sweeps the audience along in a kaleidoscope of riotous colour & dazzling song and dance.


As our put upon hero, Marc Antolin is superb. In possession of a knock-out voice and an adorably endearing character, his Seymour is one you root for, laugh with and fall for in equal measures though beware of projectile vomiting if you're front & centre! Jemima Rooper's Audrey is gorgeously squeaky & twirly, all candyfloss hair and sparkly heels with her plaintive rendition of 'Somewhere That's Green' both heart-breaking and goosebump-raising all in one. Between the two of them, the decidedly non-funny & distinctly painful theme of domestic abuse is handled with sensitivity and as the source of that violence, Matt Willis' Orin Scrivello is in equal parts revolting, horrifying & ludicrous which is a pretty terrifying combination.


There can be no doubting though who is the star of the show. On the silver screen it was a giant animatronic vegetable but on the vaguely-menacing-by-the-end-of-the-show tree flanked stage here, the spotlight is firmly planted on Vicky Vox, the California based drag queen whose Audrey II is mesmerising & completely delicious. Loud, brash and uproarious, this is the sort of performance you never forget and you won't be able to take your eyes off her as she brazenly dominates the stage with a throaty voice reminiscent of 80's queen Kathleen Turner and a style all her own. 


London in the summer is absolutely unbeatable in so many respects and sitting in the sunshine, watching an extraordinarily talented cast deliver a exceptional interpretation of one of the best (if dark yet oddly charming) musicals of all time is an experience that will be hard to top. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this show before it closes or risk forever wishing you had.