Costumes, Camp and Colour: Designing Little Shop of Horrors

Marc Antolin and Jemima Rooper as Seymour and Audrey, and Company. Photo Johan Persson

Little Shop of Horrors set and costume designer, Tom Scutt, returns following his Open Air Theatre debut with Jesus Christ Superstar. It was his designs for Superstar, “tricked out with glitter dust and an industrial-looking set” that “contributed to the heard-edged feel of the whole”. “Its rusty cruciform walkway, sets the tone for an evening that may not be subtle but genuinely pulsates with emotion” (The Guardian). During its run at the Lyric Opera of Chicago earlier this year, The Chicago Sun Times confirmed that his “smoke-coloured costumes give the piece a timeless feel, as does his towering, sleek, steel-and-scaffolding set”.

On tackling Little Shop of Horrors, Tom got to thinking about the original 1960’s black and white film by Roger Corman “which had a completely subversive, anarchic quality”.  The musical version by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken has been around for 36 years “and it has slipped into musical theatre history. It is so accepted and so known, that the element of subversion and anarchy and weirdness has slightly gone away. Every moment we can, we want to find ways to debunk it, smash it, break through the perceived way this show has been delivered, and keep the audience guessing every step of the way.” We think he succeeded!

“The first sight of Tom Scutt’s set for this production…is one of the most impressive visions I’ve seen anywhere in theatreland this year.” (★★★★★ The New European)

“Having recently redefined Jesus Christ Superstar for a whole new generation of theatregoers…this new take on Little Shop of Horrors is an unqualified triumph. It has never looked quite as exciting or outlandish as it does here, with inspired, witty designs by Tom Scutt.” (★★★★★ WhatsOnStage)

“A black-and-white New York skyline slowly turns ‘emerald city’ as green spreads over Scutt’s set, while his floristry is inventive: acid-bright kitchen utensils and toilet brushes form improbable blooms. And he really lets rip in the costume department with a final propagating pageant of spangled, silly, sexually suggestive alien plants.” (★★★★★ Mail on Sunday)

“Tom Scutt’s design brilliantly creates a comic-book urban landscape among the real, whispering foliage of Regent’s Park.” (★★★★★ The Times)

“There’s exceptional work from…designer Tom Scutt, whose approach to costume is to start with a ton of green glitter and a glue gun, then send out for more.” (★★★★★ Financial Times)

“Redesigned by Tom Scutt and housed inside a gorgeous scenic design that treats its audience almost like a hawk as you peer over the action, a trip to Skid Row has really never looked so sexy. The finale is worth the ticket price alone.” (★★★★★ Gay Times)

Concluding its run on 22 September BOOK TICKETS NOW

“Riotously fun…a surefire contender for bags of awards come the end of the year…there’s no excuse for missing this show.” (★★★★★ City AM)

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