Little Shop of Horrors

Date 17th November 2018
Society South Moor Musical Theatre Group
Venue Alun Armstrong Theatre, Civic Hall, Stanley
Type of Production Musical
Director Joan Oldfield
Musical Director John Hudson
Choreographer Joan Oldfield

Report

Author: Michelle Coulson

Little shop of horrors is an early musical collaboration of Ashman and Menken, both of whom went on to write many memorable musicals including Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, the songs are great and the characters  memorable. It is based on the science fiction “B” movies of the 50s and 60s and centres on an extra-terrestrial plant which is nurtured by the naïve flower shop assistant Seymour until it is strong enough to pursue its world domination.

The ensemble gave strong support to the principal cast with good signing and movement, the show doesn’t have much for the ensemble to do but Joan had managed to include them in as much as possible. The cameo role of Mrs Luce was in the capable hands of Gillian Wilde and Ian Mordue showed his versatility as a performer playing a customer, Skip Snip, Mr Bernstein and Patrick Martin, each character differently and well portrayed.

Russell Rafferty as the flower shop owner Mr Mushnik, played the bully of a boss to Seymour and Audrey until he saw the potential of making money out of Seymour’s new “strange and interesting plant” and turned on the charm in his duet with Seymour “Mushnik and Son” which was well delivered.  

As Orin Scrivello, the manic, sadistic dentist boyfriend of Audrey, Nick Goddard was in his element. He relished the delivery of his numbers and was suitably despicable and abusive to everyone in his path, particularly Audrey.

At the performance I attended the three observers and commentators throughout the story, Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette, were very well portrayed by Lily May Lambton, Kirsty May and Lauren O Hare. The girls maintained their characters throughout and their singing was excellent, both in their own numbers and as backing singers to the other principals, with great harmonies and diction. These roles were shared and played on alternate evenings by Claire Bidnell, Rachael Tallentire and Donna Graham. 

Lindsay Kellegher was perfectly cast as Audrey; she portrayed her vulnerability and sincerity really well with just the right amount of spoof needed for the corny libretto she sometimes had to deliver. Both renditions of her “Somewhere That’s Green” were very moving.  Audrey is saved from her oppressive love interest by her fellow shop assistant and friend, the socially awkward Seymour.  Andrew Howe gave the role of Seymour his all, the character is rarely off stage and is a demanding acting and singing role and he played it extremely well. There were many highs in his performance but in particular his “Feed Me /Git it” number with Audrey 2 and “Suddenly Seymour” with Audrey and the girls were super.

The scene stealing plant, named Audrey 2 by Seymour in homage to his love for Audrey, was in the capable hands of Peter Archer (operator) and Gareth Lilley (voice). Peter gave the plant a believable life of its own creating great expression from the puppet’s every move while Gareth’s rich, strong and expressive voice provided the perfect partnership.

The production was supported by a first class band, clear sound, appropriate lighting and a good set which all added to the enjoyment of the show. Congratulations to Joan, John and the entire team for a very enjoyable production.