Little Shop, Big Horror

Events - October 6th, 2009

by Owen Schaefer

Remember that venus flytrap you had as a kid, and your giddy mix of horror and fascination you got from watching it catch something?

What would that flytrap say if it could talk?

Well that’s easy. It would say, “Feed me.”

If carnivorous, singing plants and sadistic dentists are your cup of tea, or even if you’d much rather see them from a horrified distance, Tokyo International Players is kicking off its 113th season with the comedy-horror musical Little Shop of Horrors.

TIP has been growing in recent months, and it’s a good thing. Bigger budgets have been bringing on bigger productions, and director Jonah Hagans has said that this production kicks off a darker and more brooding season of shows—something that should shake things up after the uber-cuteness of last season’s Oliver.

Little Shop started out as the hokey but hilarious 1960s film directed by Roger Corman about a plant that feeds on human blood. But the show really became a performance staple when it wound its tendrils around the off-Broadway stage in 1982. And, of course, anyone who’s seen the 1986 film will find it difficult to see anyone but Rick Moranis as the not-too-bright floral-shop owner Seymour.

But while TIP has kept a certain amount of mystery surrounding the production, Jeremy Trigsted looks promisingly geeky in the lead role, and director Jonah Hagans is planning a revamped show with a few unexpected twists and a strong touch of the macabre. All this just in time for Halloween.

Little Shop of Horrors (Oct 8–11), Theater Sunmall, Shinjuku (Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station).

Tickets: ¥4,000 in advance, ¥4,500 at the door. Various times.