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“Outside, in drag, covered in glitter”: Little Shop of Horrors comes to Oxford

Cherwell Stage speaks with director Ollie Kurshid about the Queen's College garden musical.

Everybody better beware: Little Shop of Horrors has arrived in Oxford. 

The wacky musical tells the story of a meek florist, Seymour Krelborn, who finds himself in possession of a plant named Audrey II with a rather alarming appetite…for blood. Directed by Ollie Kurshid, Little Shop represents the return of the Eglesfield Musical Society’s spring garden musical, and we couldn’t be more excited. We spoke with Ollie about the process of putting together this fantastic, flamboyant, and undeniably frightening show. 

Why Little Shop?

Little Shop is a fabulously fun and goofy show, but what really excited me about the chance to direct this production is its deeply political message: an age-old story about greed, ambition and the end of the world. The show tackles an idea that lies at the heart of many global issues – from corruption and capitalistic greed to global warming – with a wonderfully entertaining style of comedy that is equally as terrifying as it is spectacular to watch.

This musical presents some unique technical demands – for one, a giant carnivorous plant. How has your team faced up to the challenge?

Designing Audrey II has been one of my favourite parts of the process. Making puppets and the final plant costume have certainly been new challenges for me! I wanted to incorporate elements of drag to help bring Audrey II to life onstage, and that certainly influenced my design of the final plant dress. Drag has a wonderful ability to mix extremes and take us to unexpected places, and I thought that would be such a perfect fit for the character and the show. Designing the set has also been so much fun. We’ve got a few fun tricks up our sleeve…but you’ll have to come and watch to find out more!

Describe the musical score of Little Shop in three words.

Funky. Hilarious. Terrifying.

The Eglesfield Musical Society wasn’t able to have its annual garden musical last Trinity, due to COVID restrictions. How does it feel to be back on your feet?

It’s wonderful to be back in the gardens of Queen’s! Working outdoors has presented its usual challenges, of course, but I think there’s something particularly fantastic about a garden musical. Where else would you perform Little Shop except amongst the plants?

What makes this production of Little Shop different? 

We’re outside, in drag, covered in glitter and green! Our show is very different from the original Broadway production, but hopefully that means it’ll be exciting to watch both for newcomers and fans of the show.

Little Shop of Horrors continues its run in Queen’s College Gardens until 14th May. Tickets are available here

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