Saturday, March 17, 2007
Feed Me, Seymour
Met Sarah B after work on Thursday for a large, much-much-much-needed glass of Merlot and a hasty spot of dinner before heading to the Duke Of York’s Theatre to see Little Shop Of Horrors.
This is another transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory who sent Sunday In The Park With George to the West End last summer. The Menier is also the place where Laura and I slowly expired from heat exhaustion during a sauna-like performance of The Last Five Years, but I'm learning not to hold that against it. I don't hold grudges, no, I swallow my hate, I bottle it safely away. Far healthier.
Anyway their version of Little Shop itself was great fun, slick and witty, silly yet endearing. If you don't already know the play, it's based on a 1950s B-movie, a Roger Corman film about one of life's losers, a weedy chap called Seymour, who works in a florist - and the killer plant that promises him good fortune in exchange for food (and we're not talking Baby Bio here.) The Menier's production is hugely entertaining, hitting just the right kitsch tone, and boasts fantastic performances from everyone involved, particularly Sheridan Smith as Seymour's breathy love-interest Audrey, who managed during one number, to simultaneously sing and weep - quite a difficult thing to pull off, I’d imagine.
However I did think the production's centre-piece, the blood-thirsty plant Audrey II, - though superbly voiced by Mike McShane - was a bit of a let down. I remember a lot of talk, when the show opened at the Menier, of all the money they’d spent on it, changing the design, making it properly scary, so how come it still looked like a big green dustbin with teeth? Was that really the best they could come up with?
The only new additon to the cast since the transfer, is Alistair McGowan, the long-faced impressionist guy of the telly; he was great fun as Audrey’s vile dentist boyfriend Orin (a part memorably played by Steve Martin in the 1980s film version). A minor prop malfunction, in the scene where he has Seymour in the dentist’s chair, almost caused him to corpse – but he pulled himself together quickly and fortunately it’s the kind of show where the odd involuntray giggle just adds to the charm. The shoo-wopping three-girl chorus who sing back-up on all of the songs were also superb, perhaps the best thing in it. Not only did they have great voices but spot-on comic timing as well. So, yes in short, 'twas a brilliant evening, very entertaining – and the perfect antidote to a monumentally crappy day at the office.