Little Shop of Horrors - and why not!?
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this musical is based on the original movie with Jack Nicholson. They were part way through the writing process when they hit on the idea of telling the story using motown-style music. It's all shang-a-langs and doo wahs... and it's great! I'm currently listening to the version that's playing on Broadway at the moment. This is a nice version in many ways - lots of additional nuances that make it more interesting. However, there are two key problems with this version.
Endings - the musical director has decided that the audience needs to know when a song has reached an ending. Virtually every ending had been re-written as an applause-forcer. In a lot of cases this feels forced. The original endings were pretty good in my opinion. Sometimes you need to trust your audience a bit more.
Audrey - the actress playing Audrey doesn't do the squeaky voice which other actresses have used for her. The squeaky voice seems ridiculous, but I think it's an important part of her character. In places I think this Audrey is insipid, rather than the eager-to-please, self-loathing, fallen sweetheart that Seymour rescues from herself.
What's great about this CD is the presence of the bonus tracks. Hearing songs that never made it is an honour. I have found myself humming some of the songs which only got as far as Alan Menken's demo sessions. That's cool!
I learned a reasonable amount from the performance, though. Seymour is excellent and the dentist, in some ways, has a go at stealing the show. I have managed to improve my own stage-craft as a result of observing what worked on the stage in this show. That's pretty cool!