Little Shop of Horrors

Date 5th August 2022
Society Centrestage Productions Youth Theatre
Venue The Point Theatre, Eastleigh
Type of Production Musical
Director Mike Mullen
Musical Director Nigel Finch
Choreographer Louise Hodson
Producer Mike Mullen
Written By Howard Ashman, Lyrics and Alan Menken, Music


Author: Mark Allen

As with most of CPYT's summer shows, this was remarkably pulled together in less than a week. They are always good fun to see. However what has made this production all the more incredible is the loss, two days before curtain up, of their Musical Director, Nigel Finch. He had been fighting cancer, hard, for a long time, and even to the last he was with them, encouraging, cajooling, understanding and getting the very best from them. I cannot even begin to describe the emotion that all of CPYT from those on stage, in the band, young, old, singers, dancers alike must have gone through. There was talk of pulling the show (I believe) however it was Nigel's dying wish that, in the old saying "the show must go on"

And it did.

Greeted by Mike Mullen, the shows Director and CPYT Chair, I was shown to my seat. The stage was very dimly lit with two doors, with steps and two old style metal bins in front accompanied by a couple of hobo's either side of the stage with the rest of the set being hidden by black drapes. The auditorium was also lit green, giving a very eerie feel for the start of this deeply black musical comedy. The band, now led by the incomparable Ian Partridge sat off at a real pace, a real "Nigel" feel to it. First impressions when the three "Ronettes" entered the stage, seemed to bound on full of energy and sang the three part close cropped harmonies spot on, fantastic. The drapes were drawn to reveal a very brightly lit shop interior belonging to Mr Mushnick and the show got underway. Quick, clear diction throughout all on time, in key, lines delivered with real purpose and timing. The cast, whose age ranges from ten to twenty had been well rehearsed and well drilled (in double quick time) with some simple, smart choreography by Louise Hodson, They all knew where they were to be, and at what time and what was very evident is that they were having fun. This enthusiasm came well into the auditorium and we were treated to a spectacularly good show.

The set was simple, and used to very good effect, and was well lit by James Flaxman and his team, but equally the sound, Alex Matthews, which at the Point is a traditionally difficult thing to do was clear and highlighted the good diction from the chorus and provided the audience with the ability to follow the story with ease. The costumes were also of a very high (and dare I say professional) standard. The hours of work backstage by Nicki Moorhouse and her team is to be applauded. Colourfull, bright, all fitting well many of them!

There were some very good individual performances from the principles, with Tyler Convery as Seymour, Gracie Hayles as Audrey, Karcsi Wright as Mr Mushnik backed up ably by HarryTaylor as Orin (The dentist) and the three brilliant singers Holly Standfield, Lily Rochard and Izzi Li as the "ronettes" who worked hard all night and never missed a beat (or a note!) However the real star of the show was the ever growing Audrey two (Feed me Seymour feed me!) fantastically voiced by Alicia Lambert and backed up by the brilliant puppetry skills of Suzanna Byles.

This was a very very good show, one that I will not forget in a hurry. With the talent on stage in and around Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester, the local theatre is in great hands. Amazing Mike, Louise, Nigel and all at CPYT. Given the circumstances of the week remarkable. Top job guys, top job.