This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw The Little Shop of Horrors at arrangement with The Old Joint Stock Theatre.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains violence, domestic violence and scenes of coercive behaviour.
Review: Little Shop of Horrors at The Old Joint Stock Theatre
Directed and produced by Adam Lacey, Music by Alan Menkin, Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Assistant florist Seymour (Alex Wadham) is gifted a plant by a stranger, a cross between a Tulip and a Venus Fly-Trap, he names after his fellow florist Audrey (Bella Bowen) and calls it Audrey II (Matt Bond).
Audrey II gathers the attention of the locals in their run down New York neighbourhood and soon the owner of the florist Mr Mushnik (Thomas Cove) is singing Seymour’s praises, but for Audrey II this fame comes at a price. Starting with the original Audrey’s abusive… biker dentist (?) boyfriend Orin (Bradley Walwyn)…
Feed me now!
This is an intimate production with a passionate cast, strong vocals fill the black box theatre space of the Old Joint Stock Theatre, the first half seems to last longer than the second and there’s a lot of plot and numbers to get through.
I’d not seen Little Shop of Horrors before and only knew a scarce amount about it, I knew it had a giant plant, some very big songs and was a bit of a Broadway legend, and in the five years I’ve been doing theatre reviews this is the first time I’ve had the chance to see it.
Having seen Avenue Q with this same cast in August, I’m in a rare position of seeing these actors flipped around, something which I’d really love to see more of. There are some particularly decent New York accents on show covering Italian American and Jewish American.
Alex Wadham and Bella Bowen give great performances as our hapless couple with their almost Romeo and Juliet tragic love, and Matt Bond in a painted boiler suit is a scene stealer every time he appears.
Is Little Shop of Horrors one giant metaphor for mental health issues, Seymour welcomes the audience at the start? Does he start to create the violence himself and the plant gets the blame? When Audrey II comes alive as a physical person rather than a voiced puppet it certainly seems that way.
The same could be said for the local ladies who form the vocal narration Ronnette (Hannah Victoria), Crystal (Tabitha Rose) and Chiffon (Rebecca Withers) appear in the florists like guardian angels with stunning voices at different points floating around.
Or is it a metaphor for all consuming consumerism? As fame and fortune take Seymour away from what he loves the most. The cardboard props certainly lean into this whilst the lighting suggests this could all be a huge fever dream with the checkerboard floor giving the feeling of being part of someone else’s game!
Whilst mask wearing was fairly minimal yesterday there was plenty of space to feel comfortable in the venue without having to worry.
A taste of pure Broadway in Birmingham ,this is a fun, thoughtful production that demonstrates its very talented cast. Little Shop of Horrors is at The Old Joint Stock Theatre until 26th September 2021. Book tickets here: oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/little-shop-of-horrors