REVIEW: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Bournemouth Pavilion) ★★★★★

LSOHNarrated by the gorgeous ‘ragamuffins’ Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette, Little Shop of Horrors is a satirical mockery of the more dubious sci-fi movies of the 1950’s. Queens of sass Sasha Latoya, Cassie Clare and Vanessa Fisher perform with spice, life and phenomenal voices – their harmonies sending a chill down my spine. The score for this musical came from the marvelous Alan Menken, who would later compose the iconic music for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Set in the late 1950’s Skid Row, New York, The Little Shop of Horrors is a comedic tale of murder, love, laughter and of course a mean green mother from outta space! After Seymour discovers a new plant, he calls it AudreyII after Audrey, who works in Mushnik’s bankrupt flower shop. The plant brings success but only after being fed blood, leading to the death of more than one main character.

Having played Boq in Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, Sam Lupton is well-accustomed to playing the meek, in love and often overlooked character. However beneath his mousey exterior lies a powerful voice and the audience were amazed when, suddenly, Seymour’s belt filled the auditorium. The beautiful blonde Stephanie Clift played Audrey to perfection. Her speaking voice was timid and the accent flawless, yet when she sang it was like hearing the voice of an angel. Somewhere That’s Green was sung with heart and genuine emotion, making it a poignant song with the odd dash of humour. A more lovable Audrey has never been seen on the stage or in either of the films.

A memorable character would have to be the succulently sadistic Orin, the dentist who ends up the first of Audrey II’s victims. Played by Rhydian, the biggest-selling male artist of 2008, the character was an instant hit. Although his character takes pleasure from causing pain, Rhydian did nothing but delight the audience with his infectious giggling and terrifying smile.

Even the set for this show was praise-worthy. From the semi-naturlistic creation of the shop and the dentist office to the immense puppet that was Audrey II (brought to life spectacularly by Josh Wilmott) it was a wonder to behold: both functional yet aesthetically pleasing at once.

Reviewed by Thomas Barrett

Little Shop of Horrors plays at Bournemouth Pavilion until 13 August 2016 and then moves to London’s New Wimbledon Theatre 22-27 August.