Review: Shotgun's 'Little Shop of Horrors'

Step into Ms Mushnik’s little shop of horrors for a two-hour musical sensation, packed with human mutilation and botanical world domination.  As Seymour, the downtrodden underdog, gets his humdrum life turned around by a suspiciously “strange and interesting” plant with a peculiar appetite, a series of wild and bizarre escapades ensue. The question is: how much is he willing to sacrifice for the promises of fame and fortune?

A show like no other, Shotgun’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ brings this ‘60s musical into the 21st century by casting two of the iconic male roles as women.  Alma Crespo, aka Audrey II, and Rachael Crozier, Ms Mushnik, were phenomenal in their re-imaginings of the traditionally male characters. Crespo brought a new sensuality to the plant with her sultry tones and captivating acting, often stealing scenes even when she was not focus. Crozier embodied the ageing character with maturity far beyond her years and this bustling, New Yorker florist frequently had the audience laughing out loud.

The multi-levelled stage design transformed the deceptively simple scaffolding set into a vivid and colourful portrayal of the rundown Skidrow as the stage crew delivered seamless transitions, from the failing florist to the demonic dentist. A special shout out goes to, of course, Connor Spence and Stan Gordon’s puppeteering of the fantastic two-metre tall man-eating plant…

The swinging sixties were revived in the foot-tapping rock and roll tunes. Musically, the production was sound; the harmonies were wonderfully constructed, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed Robert Wingfield’s shimmying as he led the twelve-part band into the second act. Whilst it's difficult to pick a stand-out song ("Downtown" was a personal favourite of ours), credit must be given to the tear-jerking performance of "Suddenly Seymour", in which both Wareing and Wainwright tugged at our heartstrings with their phenomenal vocals - let's hope we see more of Seymour! (Sorry.) 

Shotgun’s unique and bold rendition of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ boasts as one of its best productions to date. The combination of the talented cast, the fantastic choreography and impressive harmonies, made it a show not to be missed! As 'Little Shop of Horrors' virgins, it is safe to say that the cast of Skidrow have successfully converted us to the weird and wacky world where plants rule supreme. 

Photo credit: Jonathan Taylor