Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Horrors! London's Little Shop Opens To Mixed Reviews

Horrors! London's Little Shop Opens To Mixed Reviews

Last evening, the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Little Shop Of Horrors completed its transfer to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre. Since many of London's critics had already reviewed the show while in the Menier space, the notices for the transfer were few and far between...and mixed.

Saying that this Little Shop is "kooky, irresistibly feel-good and deserves to run and run," The Guardian's Maddy Costa gives the show four out of five stars: "[W]atching this exuberant production of Little Shop of Horrors, you wonder how it ever squeezed into the tiny Menier Chocolate Factory. Like Audrey II, the murderous plant with fearsome ambitions, the show has expanded boldly and energetically....[I]t's the details that make this such a charming production. Lynne Page's crafty choreography tempers the most saccharine lyrics by marrying them to raunchy moves."

Calling the show "lot of fun," What's On Stage's Michael Coveney offers a three-star review (his original review at Menier Chocolate Factory scored four stars): "The sound system is terrible, harsh and too metallic, rendering the last twenty minutes of the show inaudible. And Alistair McGowan is okay as the sadistic dentist (and in other minor roles)....The main thing is that the two leads are still in place, and both are brilliant. Sheridan Smith is a definitive abused shop girl, Audrey, who suffers at the hands of the dentist but dreams of 'Somewhere that’s Green' (and not, poor girl, the insides of a triffid-like omnivore). What she does with that one song, on four layers of sentiment -- suburban fantasy, regret, camp pathos, and innocent charm -- is quite amazing. And Paul Keating as the nerd turned champion botanist, Seymour, is even more delightful and impressive than before."

Complaining that Little Shop "offers too few of the right goods," a far less enthusiastic Nicholas de Jongh (Evening Standard) offers up a three-out-of-five star review: "Matthew White's production strikes many witless, dull and gross notes. The songs are reckoned witty and might have been if the singers were not overwhelmed by the band. The lead performers, apart from Paul Keating's geeky flower assistant, Seymour, engender little fun. The voice of unseen Mike McShane, who thickly croaks and sings Audrey 2, proves the one inventive, star attraction in this morality musical about the lures of greed and sexual desire."

Personally, I believe that this show works best in a smaller venue. While the production was sold out at the smaller Menier Chocolate Factory, it will be interesting to see whether it can still draw the crowds at the Duke of York's.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.

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At 15 March, 2007, Anonymous A West End Whinger said...

We were worried that it wouldn't transfer well, but actually it was almost just as enjoyable apart from the appalling sound design which rendered much of the singing inaudible. We would go again in a flash, and there aren't many theatre trips we say that about I can assure you.


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