Delicious, sharp, pure fun. That’s what Little Shop of Horrors, the musical currently showing at Pieter Toerien Theatre, provides.
I confess that besides Rocky Horror Show, I’ve never watched another rock musical in the cult, comedy-horror genre on stage before and I’m sorry that I’ve never seen Little Shop of Horrors before.
The show is based on the 1960 B-grade black comedy film of the same name. Geeky botanist, Seymour (Alan Committie), creates an astonishing plant which suddenly brings customers and money to the lacklustre florist shop on Skid Row where he works. Seymour calls his creation the Audrey II, in honour of his crush and co-worker, the ditzy Audrey (Candice van Litsenborgh).
What Seymour keeps secret, is that his wondrous plant feeds only on human blood and flesh. At first, a few drops from Seymour’s finger are enough, but as Audrey II grows, it lusts for more and it becomes harder and harder to please the creature.
Despite being a comedy, the relish with which theatregoers suck up the gore and death, holds up the proverbial mirror to the audience’s experience of Schadenfreude. The audience laughs and claps as the green monster cries: “Feed me, feed me!”, its enormous mouth gaping, and teeth covered in blood as he chomps on his victims.
The actors all deliver. Committie, a well-known comedian, makes a great nerdy Seymour, van Listenborgh is fun as the tacky Audrey, and Michael Richard embodies the hapless, tight-fisted shop-owner, Mr Mushnik. Audrey II is very obviously a fluffy puppet, but this only adds to the fun of the spoof.
However, show is stolen by Zak Hendrikz, who plays Audrey’s sadistic, woman-abusing, dentist boyfriend, Chiffon. From his coiffed hair and maniacal giggles, the doctor’s hip-thrusting singing and dark lyrics had many in stitches.
Regardless of the small stage, the set is wonderful. Posters for B-grade horror films (with titles like Attack of the Crab Monsters) peel from the dirty walls on Skid Row. Chiffon’s dentist rooms have bloody handprints on the walls, where rusty, archaic implements of torture hang.
A delectable show full of ghastly pleasures set to crowd-pleasing 60s rock and roll, doo-wop music
Little Shop of Horrors is on at the Pieter Toerien Main Theatre until 9 August 2015.