(Cassie Tongue’s article appeared in the Guardian, 2/24.)
Almost all of the musicals that tour Australia come prepackaged: pre-designed, directed, orchestrated, and choreographed. Sets are shipped from overseas, costumes are lovingly reconstructed. These replica musicals brought in more than $300m in revenue in 2014 alone; musicals are one of Australia’s most lucrative art industries but allow for very little local creative input.
But with Little Shop of Horrors, the director, Dean Bryant, and his team have made a thrilling case for handing the creative control back to Australian artists. Their new revival of the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken cult musical made its debut on Tuesday at Sydney’s Hayes theatre, with an Australian tour to follow – and it’s a black comedy triumph.