(Alfred Hickling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/8.)
Like the herbaceous horror at its centre, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's cult musical keeps on growing. A show that began life in a tiny off-Broadway venue in the early 1980s has expanded to fill the cavernous Rep stage, partly thanks to a sleazily accurate recreation of Skid Row by designer Mark Walters, but primarily because the show has such an enormous heart.
For anyone unfamiliar with the story, it's essentially a sci-fi retelling of the Faust legend illustrating the perils of selling one's soul to a vegetable. Timid young florist Seymour pines for shop assistant Audrey, but must prise her from the clutches of a motorcycle-riding dentist who performs extractions while high on his own laughing gas. The answer is a green mutation that feeds on human flesh, though Seymour's troubles really begin when there is no longer enough flesh to go round.
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