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A major revival of the classic cult musical Little Shop of Horrors in London starring Paul Keating, Sheridan Smith and Barry James.
Down and out skid row floral assistant Seymour becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon 'Audrey II' grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R'n'B-singing carnivore offering him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite... but as Audrey II's hungry demands increase, all that Seymour holds dear is threatened as the plant's sinister agenda for global domination is revealed...
The cast for Little Shop of Horrors in London features Paul Keating as 'Seymour', Sheridan Smith as 'Audrey' and Barry James as 'Mushnik' along with Matthew Eames, Katie Kerr, Jenny Fitzpatrick Corrie Mack and Melitsa Nicola. The voice of the plant is performed by Mike McShane and the plant is operated by puppeteer Andy Heath. Joining the cast for the West End is Alistair McGowan as 'The Dentist and other roles'. Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, this revival, which features a hugely innovative reworking of the legendary plant by industry pioneers ARTEM, is directed by Matthew White with designs by David Farley and was originally staged at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre from November 2006 to February 2007. Paul Keating's West End credits include La Cava (Victoria Palace Theatre 2000).
"A tongue-in-cheek, retro-style musical about a man-eating plant called Audrey II... The Menier's cast and creative team tackle it with tremendous enthusiasm, maximising the comedy with great singing and some very fast timing. Paul Keating fits the part of Seymour perfectly.... Barry James, as the gruff old Mr Mushnik, has a lot of fun, and Sheridan Smith as Audrey, teetering around in high heels and microskirt, is a hoot." The Sunday Times
"The singing is invigorating; the plant is fittingly fleshly, brilliantly manipulated by Andy Heath and wittily voiced by Mike McShane; and the performances in the lead roles (Paul Keating as the geeky florist and Sheridan Smith as the love interest) charmingly moving... And yet, at a little over two hours, the whole thing drags rather." The Sunday Telegraph
"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's musical, a high-camp celebration of bad horror movies set in a florist's shop on Skid Row in New York, is the wacky story of a nerdy orphan, Seymour, who cultivates a weird plant. In Matthew White's perfectly pitched, superbly performed production, Seymour satisfies the plant's appetites with the bodies of a sadistic dentist and the brutal boyfriend of the florist's assistant, Audrey. Audrey II, for that's the plant's name, thrives, and this particularly revolting, fleshy monster grows more and more humungous, singing and snapping until she has taken over the entire stage. In the finale, Audrey II's tentacles extend into the delightedly disgusted audience. It won't be long before she pushes her way into the West End." The Mail on Sunday
Little Shop of Horrors, one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time, is an affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies. The original West End stage musical production was staged at The Comedy Theatre in 1983 where it had a succssful run of two years. It is probably best known for the 1986 movie version of the stage show which featured Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin. Interestingly Barry James, who plays the role of 'Mushnik' in this revival, played 'Seymour' in the original West End stage prodcution.
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's stage musical version of Little Shop of Horrors is based on the 1960 horror 'B-movie' of the same name which was directed by Roger Corman (and which included Jack Nicholson in a small role). Alan Menken said: "Ok, so it wasn't a great film, but horror movies are the last respectable form of melodrama and this one is a parable: most 1950s horrors were in fact cautionary tales about ecology or McCarthy or the Bomb, and this one is simply the Faust legend updated. Because of a vague title similiarity people sometimes compare it with The Rocky Horror Show but in fact it's nothing like it. Rocky Horror was essentially 1970s: totally black, totally amoral, and although I saw the movie eight times I finally stopped going when all the kids shouted back at the screen. This Little Shop of Horrors goes back to an earlier tradition, and it's a much more convential musical with a strong plot and all the old Rogers and Hammerstein devices for solo spot numbers during scene changes. In that sense it's a show about the American musical as well as about horror films."
Little Shop of Horrors in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 6 March 2007, opened on 12 March 2007 and closed on 23 June 2007, transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre from 29 June 2007 and closed 8 September 2007.