I lose count of how many times I've watched the film, and I loved the musical on stage the first time I saw it (with my parents, in Poole. We were unaware that the live version had a less happy ending than the film and were far more moved when Audrey and Seymour got munched than we had been by a recent performance of Chekhov's Seagull at the same venue). When the lights went up on the bums staggering across Skid Row, I knew I was in for a great evening.
What stood out from this production was the choreography. The dances and movement were brilliantly arranged, sneaking lots of extra little jokes into the mix and making sure there was always something to watch during the songs.
Before Christmas I saw Colin Baker in Noises Off; this time we got Sylvester McCoy as Mr Mushnik. The Churchill is clearly a Mecca for ex-Doctors. At first I was a little dubious about his performance and his wandering Scottish-Yiddish accent, but he soon warmed up.
The entire cast seemed to be gabbling their lines a bit in the first couple of scenes, but once things calmed down there were excellent performances (and variable accents) from bumbling Seymour, ditzy Audrey, mean dentist Orin and energetic chorus Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon.
But of everyone who got eaten by the plant, I lamented Sylvester the most.
The plant! Audrey II was magnificent, growing from scene to scene until it occupied the entire stage (though its victims had to work quite hard to disappear down its maw). The puppeteer and the voice both deserved the big hand they got when they popped out at the end.
Apparently all the Audreys seen on the professional stage are made by one company, Music Theater International.
I don't remember the one I saw previously looking quite so much like a giant green ballsack, though.