Please note: I was given tickets to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I had such a fun night out last Monday! I was given a couple of tickets to see Little Shop of Horrors at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, so I invited a friend along with me to see it too. The show started quite late (7.45pm), so we met first for a carafe of wine and some tapas at the Providores and Tapa Room on Marylebone High Street, which was a 20 minute walk from the theatre.
I’d actually already tried to go to Little Shop of Horrors earlier in the month, but unluckily it poured with rain halfway through the show, so I had to have my tickets rescheduled. Fortunately, this time our luck held, and we had a summer-perfect evening ahead of us. Although I’ve lived in London for many years, I’d never experienced outdoor theatre in the city before, and I was awed by how beautiful the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park is. Fairy lights glittered in the trees above our heads, and champagne fizzed at picnic tables where visitors had pre-ordered hampers to enjoy before the show, or during the interval.
We were soon making our way to our seats in the impressive open air stadium. I was worried the seating might be rather uncomfortable (I thought we could be sitting on the grass, or at best on benches), but it’s actually fantastic with proper chairs and seating areas that all have an excellent view of the stage. The set looked fabulous with the trees and plants of one of London’s prettiest parks making an impressive backdrop.
Little Shop of Horrors is certainly an appropriate musical to stage outdoors, as it tells the story of Seymour, a young shop assistant at a flower store in a rundown district of New York City. He discovers an unusual plant (which he names the ‘Audrey 2’) that soon draws the attention of the public and the media, much to the delight of Seymour’s boss, who cashes in on the increased exposure and consequent surge in sales. Seymour is indifferent to his sudden fame, but he’s delighted to have caught the attention of his colleague, Audrey, with whom he’s secretly in love. Unfortunately for Seymour, there’s just one problem: the only thing that keeps his precious plant healthy is fresh human blood….
I must admit that Little Shop of Horrors has the most bizarre plot line I’ve ever encountered, which I think is fairly impressive for someone who loves both ballet and opera! ‘Can this really be happening?’ flashed across my mind more than once during a production that is as far from a typical love story as you can possibly get (I don’t want to ruin it, but let’s just say, there’s no Hollywood ending to this tale). Triffids have nothing on the Audrey 2! What makes Little Shop of Horrors great is that its strangeness is equally matched by its hilarity. The cast of Little Shop of Horrors at the Open Air Theatre had the audience laughing throughout the production, and there were stand-out performances from Marc Antolin (Seymour), Jemima Rooper (Audrey) and Matt Willis (Orin, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend).
A fabulous energy and pace ran throughout the entire performance, culminating in one of the best finales I’ve seen, complete with huge green balloons and confetti showering down onto the audience. Little Shop of Horrors is over-the-top, but in the best way possible. Both my friend and I agreed that it was the most brilliant night out, and we talked about the show the entire way back to the tube. The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is definitely on my list for next summer too!
Little Shop of Horrors is showing at the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park until 22nd September. Tickets may be purchased here.