The notorious man-eating plant that stars in “Little Shop of Horrors” is pleasingly voracious in the revival at the Ahmanson Theater. If you haven’t met Audrey II, you’re in for a treat. (On the other hand, you might be a treat for Audrey II.) Even those who are familiar with the plot, such as it is, will enjoy the production because everything is done with professional flair.
In addition to the plant itself, cunningly animated by Michael Latini and Paul McGinnis, we have the hero, Seymour, played as the ultimate nerd by Anthony Rapp, and the heroine, the human Audrey, played by Tari Kelly.
If this show needed a moral, it could be found in the sad downfall of Seymour, who succumbs to the blandishments of the nasty Audrey II in order to attain riches and fame. Rapp has all the moves of a loser while Kelly is delightful with her high-pitched voice and “Noo Yawk” accent.
Adding spice to the proceedings are three young women who act as a sort of Skid Row Greek Chorus and show up in the most unexpected ways. Yasmeen Sulieman, Amina S. Robinson and LaTonya Holmes are terrific as both singers and dancers.
The part of Mushnik, owner of the failing flower shop, is handled well by Lenny Wolfe. However, getting the most laughs is James Moye, who plays the sadistic dentist and a variety of other characters requiring quick costume changes.
The Faustian plot offers a variety of non memorable songs, which are handled well by the cast. The music is by Alan Menken and the book and lyrics are the work of Howard Ashman. The sets and costumes provided by Scott Pask and William Ivey Long, respectively, are clever and suitable to the action. Directing the ensemble with aplomb is the redoubtable Jerry Zaks.
For those who have seen the movie or a previous production, there are no surprises, but there is still fun to be had. As Michael James Leslie, the voice of Audrey II might say, “See me, see me.”