A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors by Adam Abraham
It was the 8th day in the month of September when ‘Attack of the Monster Musical’, the exciting tale of how Little Shop of Horrors came to be the cult musical so many now love, hit bookstores and began its journey to world domination …
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Insightful, detailed, and just a purely fantastic read, Attack of the Monster Musical details the journey of a little show that Howard Ashman wholeheartedly believed in, despite being told by many that it was a crazy idea. The book chronicles the Little Shop of Horrors’ journey from its very beginnings, when Ashman first discovered the original (non-musical) film, and journeys the reader through from conception to where we are today, at its 40th anniversary year.
‘Attack of the Monster Musical’ should be read by all, not only fans of the musical in all its forms. It shows just how important perseverance and belief in something is, and how even the oddest idea can prove to be a gem. While reading this book there were so many moments where I desperately wanted to talk with someone about what I had learnt about the show’s creation, little tidbits that once you know them make so much sense in context of the show – a testament to the author’s historical research. Don’t worry, I shall keep this review spoiler free so readers can enjoy the joys of discovery just as I did.
While I do love the book, and highly recommend it, I admit that I do have a few issues with it, which is why I couldn’t give it five stars. The fact that it suddenly seems rushed towards the end was a massive disappointment. The last chapter comes out of nowhere. It shifts from the well-researched historical details of the production’s life and development, to the most recent production in New York. It also completely misses out at least two pivotal moments in the life of Little Shop of Horrors – the Regents Park, London production where a drag queen played Audrey 2 spectacularly, and the immortalisation of Little Shop characters as Funko Pops – the ultimate geek achievement. These missing pieces are key points in the life of the show and missing them seems like a massive oversight.
I admit, I also expected the book to be more of a coffee table book, filled with images from over the years. I am not sure if this is the case with the printed version, but in the Kindle version (on which I have based this review), only about 50% of the actual downloaded ‘book’ was the show’s story. The rest is of some fun appendices, notes and biography and an index. I really feel that an opportunity has been missed here. Maybe that’s something that later editions can rectify?
Written by: Adam Abraham
Published by: Bloomsbury
Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors is published on 8 September and available from all good book sellers.