Little Shop of Horrors
Alex Wood | 13 May 2014 18:59pm
This is a fine musical. At 2 hours long (including interval!) there is nothing spare or wasted in it. Unlike some musicals where even the most enthusiastic theatregoer might drift away it keeps the attention from beginning to end. In addition to this it has enough aspects to it to please everyone – smashing songs, lots of comic lines, a love story, two outrageously bad baddies (one human, the other vegetable) and lots of other very witty stuff smuggled in for those who choose to listen very carefully. It really does work at a number of levels.
If only Mary Portas and Sir Digby Jacks had known! No need for rebranding, searching out new markets, developing new products and so on – all a failing florist’s shop like the one run by Harold Mushnik is a strange and interesting plant to kick-start its revival! The plant, bought from a mysterious Chinaman after an unexpected total eclipse of the sun by the put-upon shop assistant Seymour Krelborn, means new-found prosperity for Mr Mushnik and all his heart desires for Seymour. Unfortunately the plant grows from an infant that just needs the odd drop of blood into a monster man eater – making Seymour realise too late that he is in a Faustian pact with the plant. The plant which can give him everything is simultaneously ruining his life.
Add to this the pretty but needy Audrey and her boyfriend, the sadistic nitrous oxide-addicted dentist Orin Scrivello DDS together with a Greek chorus of a trio of Skid Row girls who narrate the story in an entertaining and very tuneful way and we have the makings of a very classy and hilarious musical.
I was ‘booked up’ for the rest of the week so I had no choice as to the night I could see the show. I did not realise that Monday at WOS is really a preview night. Bearing this in mind I am going to write an ‘as seen’ review in which I recognise that at least some of the points I make will have been sorted out by the first night proper.
I enjoyed this show.
With such a small cast compared to older, more ‘conventional’ musicals the principals are key to this show’s success. Gareth Edwards captured the character of the quiet, unappreciated but fundamentally decent Seymour very well. I also enjoyed the performance of Louisa Stephens as Audrey as his flower shop colleague and the much abused girlfriend of Scrivello. Both had fine singing voices – ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ and ‘Suddenly Seymour’ were beautifully sung – even though Louisa was performing vocal heroics on antibiotics!
Howard Salinger played the role of Mushnik just the right balance of grumpiness and the bravado of a businessman whose fortunes have made a change for the better. His duet with Seymour, ‘Mushnik and Son’ still needs some polish – it should be a showstopper if it gets it.
I did have an issue with Russell Stratton’s Scrivello which was a bit too buffoon-like. For what it is worth I see the role as a very demanding one which balances menace and charm – a bit like a demon king.
Adam Feighoney did well with his multiple roles – though the reason for at least 2 of them having English accents still puzzles me.
The Skid Row chorus of Chiffon (Joanne Goddard), Crystal (Kerry Lee) and Ronnette (Katheleen Paynter) was excellent. Beautifully co-ordinated in song, dance and costume, all carried off with a sense of wit and fun.
Congratulations are also due to the puppeteers of the brilliant Audreys and, of course the ‘the voice’, the Colin McLeod – deep, soulful and scary.
The set was just right as were the costumes. Some scenes were a bit short of light with performers in the shadows – hopefully something which will be sorted by the ‘first night proper’.
Full marks too to the band, led by MD Susana Tierney.
Little Shop of Horrors is a fun show and those who see it will have a lot of fun at this WOS production.
- : admin
- : 12/05/2014