From our Theatre on the Bay balcony cheap seats we felt like voyagers spying on our neighbours across the street through a slightly pulled back curtain. It is an ideal vantage point to witness as the comings and goings of the little flower shop on the dodgy side of New York takes a turn from the mundane to the extraordinary. With the birth of Audrey II, homicidal avocado like Venus fly trap, Mr Mushnik’s flailing flower shop is transformed into the rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors. The scale of everything in this Pieter Torien produced musical is stupendous. From the size of the ever growing Audrey II puppet (“Feed me Seymour!”) to multiple immaculately fitted costume changes and the deep pool of talented performers such as Alan Committie (Seymour Krelborn) and Michael Richard (Mr Mushnik).
As impressive as the puppetry of Audrey II might be, the person you can never take your eyes off is its namesake Audrey I played by Candice van Litsenborgh. Van Litsenborgh no longer has the Understudy Blues* as she shines as Audrey, acting and singing everyone, including the combined powers of the doo-wop trio, under the flower shop counter. In the hands of another actress the character of Audrey can easily be completely pathetic and annoying, but with her high pitched Frenchie-from-Grease voice von L injects the character with a lethal dose of comedy and heart.
The Little Shop of Horrors has unfortunately come to the end of its Cape Town run (for now anyway, nothing like public demand to sway Pieter Torien into bring the show back to the Mother City, nudge nudge), and will be moving to the Pieter Toerien Main Theatre at Montecasino, 12 June – 9 August 2015.
This write-up is a little short (and late) to be useful as a review so I’ll rather call it an open letter** to Pieter Torien and Theatre on the Bay to say thank you for a putting on a smashing production.
* A seasoned understudy Candice van Litsenborgh rocked in her one woman show last year, Understudy Blues. Click here to read more. ** I actually consider open letters rather douchy but I probably can’t be an opinionated South African without writing at least one.