WHILE friends and other family members may have delighted in the transformation performer Scott Johnson undertakes as sadistic dentist Orin in Little Shop of Horrors, he refuses to show the character to his two young daughters.
“He’s slightly disturbing, but I’m interested in bold characters and bold choices on stage and the feedback has been good,” Johnson said.
“I don’t usually come to a show prepared with a character but this one I had strong feelings about.
“There’s not a lot written about him, just a couple of directions, so I thought Dean Bryant (director) and I would take it to the extreme and we went for that darkness, into the place where what if he grew up shooting puppies and enjoyed pain?
“He’s not your normal music theatre character.”
Johnson, who also teaches, returned to the stage following a five-year break after playing Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys.
“This was the first role that I thought was good for me since then,” the NIDA graduate said.
“The first musical I did was Jersey Boys; I don’t usually do music theatre.
“And then this came along and I thought there was room in there for me to play and find something that was different.”
The Australian reimagining of the production takes audiences to Mr Mushnik’s run-down flower shop on Skid Row where shop assistant Seymour Krelborn (Perth’s own Helpmann Awards nominee Brent Hill) discovers a new plant species he names Audrey II after his colleague and crush Audrey (Esther Hannaford).
Orin is Audrey’s boyfriend and their relationship delves into the darkness of domestic violence.
“They kind of go there in other versions of the productions but don’t follow through,” Johnson said.
“We thought it would be interesting to push boundaries and dive between satire and truth; it’s disrespectful to sugar-coat it or give audiences the decaffeinated version.
“To get the light and true moments, you have to balance that with the dark moments.”
What: Little Shop of Horrors
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: August 4 to 14