A cross between Day of the Triffids and The Sound of Music, if that’s conceivable, the musical of the 1960 black comedy movie, Little Shop of Horrors twisted my aversion of musicals in 1986, when I saw the Frank Oz’s film adaption with Rick Moranis as Seymour, and Steve Martin as the psychotic dentist Orin; there’s always an exception to the rule. With doo-wop rock ‘n’ roll panache, and surreal comedy, it was my epiphany that musicals didn’t have to be all My Fair Lady and Oklahoma!
Glad to see it front page of Devizes treasure, The Wharf Theatre’s programme of events for the Autumn and Winter; so let’s preview it and see what other interesting performances they’ve got in store for us shall we? Why? Because if it’s good enough for Biggins, it’s good enough for me!
The Little Shop of Horrors has been through Broadway and West End since 1982 and won several awards. When a mild-mannered florist stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey,” after his fantasy relationship with a co-worker, the Venus flytrap fashioned flower tempts the florist into bringing him human blood and grows to colossal proportions with world domination in mind. It’s fantastical fairy-tale fun with a dash of Monty Python humour and brilliant retrospective soul and rock n roll songs. Directed by Emily Holmes with musical direction from Naomi Ibbetson, it runs at the Wharf from Friday 26th October until Saturday 3rd November, tickets £12, £10 for concessions, and has to be something more than worthwhile while the autumn evenings draw in.
Musically there’s three other treats on offer at The Wharf, 7th September sees The Johnny Cash Story following a successful run at The Edinburgh Fringe. Those who’ve seen “Walk the Line,” or is a fan of Cash will know his biography is astounding, and it’d great to see acclaimed performer Jamie Rodden’s rendition of him and his songs.
Similarly, Canadian folk-pop innovator Joni Mitchel gets a Story, showing on 6th October, it’s another Edinburgh Fringe sell-out. Why even bother going all the way to Scotland if the Wharf is going to bring us their hit shows?! I’d be going in blind here though, for as much as I love her timeless songs, I know nothing about her life, only that she stayed on the edge of the sixties beatnik scene, despite writing the eras anthems, Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now.
With eccentric humour, crazy costumes and high-energy world roots music, The London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra takes the matinee of 16th November and proves to be a riot of clownery and wacky Kenny Everett styled madness.
Plays this season are Alan Ayckbourn’s eerie thriller, Snake in the Grass; a twisting tale of murder, and blackmail, with a healthy dose of Ayckbourn’s black comedy. It runs from 24th-29th September. And Neil Simon’s anti rom-com Chapter Two, running from 29th January to 2nd Feb 2019. Directed by Lewis Cowan it promises to be of “sparkling dialogue softening the edge of what it is at heart, a serious examination of what it means to lose ones partner through either death or divorce.”
More customary, Shakespeare Live appears at the Wharf on October 4th, with This Rough Magic. Director Gill Morrell and cast take Prospero through a selection of Shakespeare plays and poems.
Hold on though, I know what you’re thinking; you’ve missed a month, the big C! How about Kidnap in Pantoland as an alternative to a standard pantomime this year, sounds intriguing? Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Running the 7th to 15th December, this is a who-done-it pantomime as detectives are called in to investigate the mysterious case of the kidnap of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and no pantomime or fairy-tale character is exempt from suspicion.
All-in-all a grand program of events to see us into 2019 by my reckoning, but, but “Feed me Seymour!” –say no more, it’s not a movie I’ve seen for many moons, but just the thought of that scene of the bad-boy, Elvis styled dentist bursting into his waiting room with a rancorous rock n roll number, and viscously twisting the head off a dolly held by a scared little girl just tickles my funny-bone every time; is this normal? Little Shop of Horrors is a must!