Man-munching plant; hash slingers, gas jockeys; Krakow summer show
It could have been scarier. For that matter, it could have been campier. For all that its name and reputation promised, ''Little Shop of Horrors'' packed all the kinky terror of a ''Sesame Street'' set.
That might make it palatable to the PG crowd, but to those expecting a re-creation of the weird and wacky Off Broadway hit, this roadshow version is a bit too clean cut to cut it as a cult hit.
But never mind. If you haven't made it to the dingy recesses of New York's Orpheum Theatre, where ''Little Shop of Horrors'' first opened for business two years ago, you might as well visit the Boston branch at the Colonial Theatre and get in on the fun.
That is, if your taste runs to music-laced tales of a man-eating Venus' flytrap plant based on the cult horror-film classic by Roger Corman - in a word, the play's genesis. Its genius, however, resides in its lyrics.
Sure, go laugh at the dying-on-the-vine Skid Row florist and the Muppet-like antics of Audrey II, the giant, bloodthirsty plant who promises Cadillacs and women in return for being fed ''all night long.'' Laugh, too, at wimpy Seymour, botanical boy wonder who indulges his flora's vampirish demands in hopes of attaining a network TV contract and the love of his Kewpie doll co-worker. Orin, the co-worker's sadistic dentist boyfriend, is schticky, but worth a chuckle, too.
It is Howard Ashman, however, the lyricist and director who earned multiple awards for adapting Corman's film for the stage, who is the real star of the show. Anyone who can make funny the line ''He looks like USDA prime'' is worth a listen. Too bad the clever lyrics sometimes got lost in the decibelic shuffle of rock 'n' roll rhythms and muddied miking. The show's pacing, which erred on the side of being adagio, didn't pick up the beat, either. But the cast - particularly Ken Ward as Seymour and Eydie Alyson as the Monroesque love interest - were decidedly up tempo, which only added to the fun.