Review: Little Shop of Horrors, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Published in Mail on Sunday on September 1, 2018

This 1982 cult musical has always been a potty favourite: hapless florist Seymour cultivates an alien plant with an appetite for human flesh – a Faustian pact that wins him fame, fortune and Audrey, the girl of his dreams.

But Maria Aberg’s revival gives fans something new to chew on: instead of the usual animatronic flower, out of designer Tom Scutt’s psychedelic, tentacled plant steps Vicky Vox, a fabulous US drag queen.

She’s got big lungs, big booty, big heels and a very big stage presence, absolutely nailing it as this seductively demanding, man-eating diva.

Vox is not the only fierce one; three Sixties-style girl-group backing singers are given a sassy, streetwise makeover, while Matt Willis – formerly of pop band Busted – plays a sadistic dentist, wielding a rusty drill with madcap glee.

But the whole cast is brilliant, having bags of fun with this kitsch send-up of musicals and B-movies.

A black-and-white New York skyline slowly turns ‘emerald city’ as green spreads over Scutt’s set, while his floristry is inventive: acid-bright kitchen utensils and toilet brushes form improbable blooms. And he really lets rip in the costume department with a final propagating pageant of spangled, silly, sexually suggestive alien plants.

Monstrously good fun.

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