THE last time Tyler Coppin was in Perth, he was frightening audiences as the evil child catcher in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Now he has returned as unhappy flower shop owner Mr Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors who gets his just deserts; a character he described as “someone who loves Audrey and Seymour (his employees) but is so riddled with self-doubt, bitterness and sadness at his miserable life that it’s comically tragic”.
Coppin’s love affair with Perth stretches back to 1999 when he brought his solo show LyreBird (Tales of Helpmann) to The Playhouse Theatre.
“I loved The Playhouse because you got church bells ringing every 15 minutes on a Sunday matinee,” Coppin said.
“I dig progress but was sad to see it go, although the Heath Ledger Theatre is incredible and probably the best theatre I’ve ever been in.”
Coppin has another Perth theatre to add to his list as Little Shop of Horrors opens at His Majesty’s Theatre tomorrow night.
The show reunited Coppin with director Dean Bryant after the pair worked together on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in 2007.
“I was in Strictly Ballroom for two years and I didn’t do much in that show other than flap around with a handbag and apply lip gloss,” Coppin said.
“Dean offered me the role of Mushnik and I told him I’d love to do some real acting.”
Coppin, who was born in California and lives in Melbourne, visited Australia with his family before migrating to study at National Institute of Dramatic Art at age 19.
“My dad was working here; I came on a holiday with my family and saw NIDA in a newspaper,” he said.
“I had no intention of staying in Australia, I just have.
“In those days, because it was a long time ago, people would ask me what I was doing here, saying I should be acting back in California.
“I love live theatre and Australian audiences; they’re so warm and vibrant and the arts are usually great, especially at the moment with so many musicals.
“So I stayed and I love it.”
What: Little Shop of Horrors
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: until August 14