Until now, the 1960 movie version of Little Shop of Horrors was known for three things: being shot in just two days on left-over sets, Jack Nicholson's first screen appearance, and spawning the Broadway musical turned saccharine-coated oddball 1980s film.

Now the original light-black comedy - which never took itself seriously - will also be known for cornflakes that sound like carnations, toilet plungers worn as headgear and a rendition of Poi E by Seymour's hypochondriac mother.

The ridiculous jokes on screen (banana peel slips! cod liver soup!) are matched by merry mayhem off screen, so that you want to look five places at once and you lose any notion of where the noise is coming from.

Creator/composer Leon Radojkovic and director Oliver Driver have used their successful Live Live Cinema format for four years, but this time they ratchet up the madcap: the live music, dialogue and foley sound effects are all produced by a cast of only four.


And what brilliant, charismatic actor-musicians they are: Fringe festival favourite Barnie Duncan, Byron Coll who disappears wonderfully inside his characters, Hayley Sproull the anchoring pianist whose voice as Audrey-the-woman is perfect, and magnetic Laughton Kora, whose acting is a revelation.

We enjoy their own enjoyment as they amp up the camp, racing around like headless chooks in 1960s bow ties hitting, winding, stomping and popping on various items to create noise.

Their hullabaloo - designed by Gareth Van Niekerk - seems miraculously in synch with the screen action, apart from when, hilariously, it's not.

Radojkovic's music is nicely-paced with a touch of comedy-horror weird, although its volume occasionally drowns out conversations and Audrey-the-plant's eating noises.

Audrey herself (seemingly made from twine, paper and velour) offers a small amusing twist near the end. Spotting differences from the 1980s version is fun - but you don't need to know any version to relish this one.


What: Live Live Cinema: Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre
When: To May 24