There are glossy, over-the-top star studded musicals… and then there’s Little Shop of Horrors, the Off –Off Broadway hit so overtly kitsch and comical, you can’t help but fall in love with it. And fall in love, I sure did, with the latest local Kickstart production at Theatre on the Bay.
Reminiscent of the Rocky Horror Show era, Little Shop stars the hilarious Alan Committie and Candice van Litsenborgh as geeky botanist Seymour and the object of his affections, the lovely and ditzy Audrey, who work at Mr Mushnik’s struggling flower store on Skid Row. If you’re a musical fan, you’ve no doubt seen the 1986 cinematic version, with Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene in the leads but believe me, this local stage version is a must-see.
With the exhilarating titular number out of the way, we’re quickly drawn into Seymour’s world where, besides fawning over Audrey, he is also tending to an unusual plant he’s named the Audrey II or Twoey, which he hopes will attract more customers to the store. Upon making the unfortunate discovery that Twoey requires blood to stay alive, Seymour sets about the horrific task for finding human food to satisfy the plant's appetite.
Candice’s vocal range is astounding (which comes as no surprise, considering her turns in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess, The Little Mermaid, Hansel and Gretel, and her one-woman show Understudy Blues) and her Audrey costumes left me positively green with envy. The major surprise of the night was, however, Alan’s singing voice. Jonathan Roxmouth he may not be (and have I mentioned how keen I am to experience that voice again in West Side Story later this month?!) but Alan more than holds his own.
The Suddenly Seymour duet with Candice, in particular, induced goose bumps and if ever there was a man who could play a clumsy, sweet but still totally handsome nerd to comedic perfection, it’s Mr Committie.
Lelo Ramasimong, Chantal Herman and Dionne Song, as Chiffon, Crystal and Ronette are both gorgeous to look at and listen to and Michael Richard is suitable cranky as Mr Mushnik. Zak Hendrikz as Audrey’s bad boy biker dentist boyfriend is fabulously over the top, which makes it all the more obvious for the audience to see why Audrey should be with Seymour.
There’s much to be said about actors being upstaged by the animals and children they act with, and if that is to believed then Twoey, as voiced by Time Wells definitely steals the show.
The remarkable puppetry by Brandon Moulder and design by Greg King and Wendy Henstock of this lovable monster, is just jaw-droppingly amazing and nothing delights more than laying eyes on the murderous plant in its full grown glory, after interval. Barbs and I were both quite eager to take a mini Audrey II home, despite its homicidal tendencies!
I saw the show twice within a week (yes, I enjoyed it that much) and I promise you, it makes for a great night out with friends. Book your tickets NOW!
Little Shop of Horrors runs at Theatre on the Bay until Saturday 6 June, 2015. Tickets are R 100 to R 300 and are available at Computicket.