Vicky Vox as Audrey II. Photo Johan Persson. Design Tom Scutt. Lighting Design Howard Hudson. | Photo: Open Air Theatre
Little Shop of Horrors is the classic musical that brings camp and bizarre into full alignment to defeat an out of control plant – now perfectly captured in drag.
The story is set alongside the American Dream after a dystopian ‘total eclipse of the sun.’
Now, a new open-air production of the musical is open in Regents Park, London this summer – and it is a stunning rendition.
Bestie with Willam and Detox and known for drag supergroup DWV, Vicky Vox stars as the classic pot plant Audrey II. And boy is she thirsty.
Making her theater debut, Vox’s drag sass brings a whole new level to this classic horror villain.
Queers everywhere will still recognize themselves in the misfits of Skid Row.
Particularly with the costumes filling the gap left by Priscilla Queen of the Desert when it left the West End in 2011.
With a life full of broken dreams and dead ends – it might just feel like another night out at the local gay bar. Particularly with a drag queen playing the pivotal role.
Wicked green, but dystopian whites and greys make for a tasteful and impressive set. Coupled with phallic green objects (and one or two actual dildos) replacing the plants all over the stage.
Despite the songs in Little Shop of Horrors being a far cry from ‘This Boy is a Bottom’ – and the slightly lazy Drag Queen in a gay bar vibe coming through in Vox’s performance – it is all worth it for the pay off finale song from the superstar queen.
The queer history of Little Shop of Horrors
The author of the original 80s stage musical was Howard Ashman. He’s the gay man who also wrote classic Disney songs including for Aladdin. Whilst working on The Little Mermaid, he was diagnosed with HIV. Something which many argue influenced a lot of the lyrics in the film.
Songs such as ‘Part of Your World’ an ode to misfits the world over, and the character Ursula the sea witch, who was based on drag queen Divine, owe their existence to this incredible man.
He sadly died before finishing his work on ‘Beauty and The Beast’.
But Little Shop of Horrors was his chance for him and composer Alan Menken to stretch their legs with their adult humor.
Little Shop carries themes LGBTI kids and adults will recognize too. For the gay kids just starting to work out what their identity might mean will recognize much of the inaccessible dreams Audrey dreams throughout. Especially with the added fear, they could end up as one of the othered outcasts on Skid Row, the dystopian downtown New York setting the play is set on.
Review: Open Air Little Shop Of Horrors
Despite all the depravity – there’s hope on the horizon for flower shop assistant, Seymour (played by the very cute Marc Antolin), when he discovers a mysterious new plant, albeit with a killer potential.
But will it be enough to win the attention of kind, sweet, delicate Audrey (Jemima Rooper)? Both excellently played.
Forbes Masson takes on the role of East Side florist Mr. Mushnik. While Busted star Matt Willis takes the role of sadistic dentist Orin.
For any 90s kid, his starring is enough to give you the giggles. A little rigid in his title song is made up with his elastic acting.
If you enjoy camp musicals, bright sets, and drag queens – this Ru Paul influenced rendition of the 80s movie and stage show has it all.
Director Maria Aberg is right to say ‘the show erupts in a huge, defiant celebration of the subversive and the downright fabulous.’
If you’re looking for a replacement for the ‘someone left the cake out in the rain’ McArthur Park cupcake scene in Priscilla Queen of the Desert – this show will fill your gap.
And whether you got a dramatic sunset or a pending stormcloud vibe throughout – the open air weather only adds to the backdrop.
Little Shop of Horrors is on in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theathre in central London, UK, 03 August 2018 – 22 September 2018.