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Saturday, October 2

Don't forget to visit apostrophell, which has gained a new article today. Oooh. It's still a goldmine of pedantry and accuracy, so worth a visit for some of the old articles too.

A shop full of horrors
I appear to be having something of a Little Shop of Horrors theme to this weekend. Last night I watched the DVD of the original movie - that's the Roger Corman filmed-in-two-days-black-and-white version. I'd bought this DVD by accident, it having been advertised as the musical version. I really enjoyed it, though. Given that I've seen the musical on stage three times, have listen to its soundtrack often, and come to love it, and it was interesting to see how it all began. There was the dental patient who loved pain, created by Jack Nicholson in the original movie and then recreated by Bill Murray in the movie of the musical. This character hadn't made it into the stage show. There were notable differences between the original story and the musical, but where the musical had changed the plot, I felt it was consistently better. The only thing I felt was a shame to lose in the musical was the constant use by both Mushnik and Audrey of inappropriate words - it was done so dryly that you could almost miss it.

Notable changes.

  • Seymour isn't an orphan in the original movie. He has a mother who is a hyperchondriac and is obsessed with health potions. This character is ok, but doesn't add much to the story and does add another location, inappropriate for a stage show. Making Seymour an orphan, living in the basement of Mushnik's florist, is a much better way to get sympathy for him.
  • Audrey isn't remotely tragic in the original version. She's better off as a lost soul looking to be rescued by a sweet little guy "like Seymour".
  • Audrey isn't going out with the Dentist in the original. Although the Dentist is one of the corpses to be fed to the plant, there's no good reason for it in the original. He's a bit manic, but he's not particularly evil, as he is in the musical. Seymour kills him by accident (as he does the other corpses in the film) but it's not as excusable as in the musical. The love-triangle and abuse of Audrey make for more interesting drama in the musical.
  • Mushnik ends up selling his soul to the plant in the original movie. He realises what is going on and decides to keep the plant on, even feeding a burglar to it. In the movie, Mushnik tells the burglar that the money is inside the plant and he should just knock for it to open. In the musical, when Seymour finds out that Mushnik suspects him for murdering the dentist, he tells Mushnik that he's put the day's takings in the plant and he should just knock for it to open. This is where Mushnik dies in the musical.
  • The climax is quite different. Although Seymour challenges the plant in both shows, he's trying to kill it from the inside in the film, having reached the end of his tether and with no regard for setting up a life with Audrey, who has survived. In the musical, the plant had killed pretty much everyone, including Audrey and Seymour is trying to take revenge. In the movie, we have a rather cute reveal where the blooms of this plant open to reveal the faces of everyone it has killed. I suspect that this trick has been used by people staging the musical over the years too.
Differences are details and I love details. I enjoyed watching the movie last night. This morning, a new item arrived. LITLA HRYLLINGS BUDIN - the Icelandic version of Little Shop of Horrors. The phrase caveat emptor never applied more than when buying items on ebay. I bought this CD of the Icelandic cast in the assumption that it would be the musical, as performed in Iceland. I hadn't considered that it might not be sung in English. I know that, for instance, the Danish version of Chess is sung in the original language. However, this version comes in Icelandic. This is not a bad thing. Actually, it's quite interesting. The thing about this musical is that the writing is so very good that even a bad version of the show is still wonderful. When I saw the poor performance of it in July, I still enjoyed myself, because I could hear and see a good version of it in my head (my memories of good versions filled in the gaps in the show in front of me - I'm not having hallucinations!). So, the fact that the language currently being sung in my ears, as I write this with the CD playing, is itself totally unintelligible to me, is irrelevant. I know exactly what's going on. I can appreciate this as a piece of performance in its own right. It's pretty good. Not brilliant, but pretty good.

So far, my favourite recorded version of this show is still the original off-Broadway cast.

More vivid dreams
I'm still suffering from vivid dreams. There must still be something on my mind, and it's not just tomorrow's auditions for Guys and Dolls. Weirdly, I dreamed that I was raking the lawn. That's not going to be happening today. A lot of rain just descended from above. I might risk going for a walk later, though.


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