BATS returns to the Haymarket later this month with one of Broadway’s favourite musicals, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. The show features great 1960’s style songs and a story that pastiches old-style horror movies. Downtrodden shop assistant, Seymour Krelborn finds a strange exotic plant during a solar eclipse. When the plant begins to speak and demands to be fed, Seymour enters into a terrible pact which he believes will win him true love. But not one, but three baddies stand in his way, pictured from left to right - Joe Humberstone, Ian 'Spud' Smith and Anthony Mitchell.
Anthony Mitchell plays Seymour’s boss, the bitter flower shop owner Mr Mushnik. “He took Seymour under his wing and gave him a home, but he never made anything of his own life,” explains Anthony. “Then he gets a chance to make a load of easy money by praying upon Seymour’s naivety. Of course, that ultimately becomes the route to his own come-uppance.”
2013 marks Anthony’s 30th year with BATS. “I’m so pleased to be doing Little Shop of Horrors” he says. “You’ll leave the theatre with a broad grin on your face, humming the catchy numbers – and wondering just what that huge weed in your garden really is!”
Ian ‘Spud’ Smith is another BATS stalwart – he’s providing the voice for the monstrous man-eating plant, Audrey 2, and has an apology for his neighbours. “My songs are very loud – when I rehearse at home I wonder what they think as they hear me chant “Feed Me Blood” at the top of my voice!”
Spud’s striking looks have often seen him cast in ‘baddie’ roles, like Bill Sikes in ‘Oliver!’ and Jud Fry in ‘Oklahoma!’ but he’s keen to stress he’s not always been a rotter – “I once played Wendy in Peter Pan!”
Spud confesses he’s been bowled over by the enthusiasm and dedication of the younger members of the cast. Among them, Joe Humberstone, who plays the sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello.
“He’s sarcastic and disturbing to watch,” says Joe of his character, who’s pretty nasty to his girlfriend Audrey and downright evil to hapless hero Seymour. But can any of these villains match up to the legendary Queen of Mean, who Joe faced on TV’s The Weakest Link? He admits he wilted under Anne Robinson’s fearsome glare. “I went out in the first round after getting a question wrong – doh!”
Six performances of Little Shop of Horrors run from Tues 14th – Sat 18th May at The Haymarket, Basingstoke.