LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
|Date||25th May 2023|
|Society||Dunstable Musical Theatre Company|
|Venue||Little Theatre, Dunstable|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Chris Young|
Author: Nova Horley
What a great evening’s entertainment. I like the idea of the basic programme supplied at the venue with relevant information, but with a QR code to access the full programme, very on trend.
We were welcomed to the theatre with cast members acting as usherettes, and decorations in the bar area, making it a fully immersive experience from the start.
Lighting was very effective, giving an added dimension to the show, lifting each scene, the different lighting on the skyline was excellent, these small touches bring a production to life.
Sound was good throughout, there were good nuances of sound, and we heard every word said.
Costumes were appropriate, I thought the female trio’s colour coordination worked well, and brought a vibrancy to the stage.
I liked the choreography, not too contrived, fairly simple and suitable for the cast, who looked as if they were comfortable with the movement required.
The set was well-designed to incorporate the ever-growing Audrey II, and well-dressed with flowers for the shop, taking it from the drab when things were bad, to bright and well-stocked when fortunes were revived. The stage right set was also valuable for the contrast and easy movement of the cast entrances and exits.
The opening, using the female trio coming through the auditorium was very good, and engaged the audience immediately. Clare Watson (Chiffon), Amy Hansford (Ronnette) and Rachel Maloy (Crystal), these ladies created a remarkable atmosphere and showed excellent vocal skills with super harmonies, to make their performance both relevant and effective. I liked this trio very much.
Paul Blackwell (Mushnik) was forceful and slightly cruel in his treatment of Seymour, but I liked the slightly more forceful personality than usually seen for this part, very nicely achieved.
James Allen (Seymour) created the nerdy botanist very well, I particularly liked his rendition of Suddenly Seymour with Audrey. A lot of emotion on show, despite the withdrawn nature of Seymour, a good portrayal.
Kirsty Young (Audrey) gave us a consummate performance as the abused but loyal love interest of both Seymour and Orin. It was good to see Kirsty back on stage, and I loved her rendition of Somewhere That’s Green, a show stopper and so poignant, so much expression and feeling. A lovely performance overall.
Joshua Thompson (Orin) gave the malicious dentist plenty of energy and intent, I always enjoy when Orin gets his comeuppance, which was managed very nicely. An abusive character we always love to hate, played to the utmost.
Someone who is often forgotten is the Audrey II puppeteer, in this production it was Gavin Fowler, who was spot on with his timing. Well done.
I often think that the Voice of Audrey II is one of the best parts around, some great numbers, and Russell Stratton gave them justice, bringing his strong vocal talents to bear, and I loved it that he got a number after the finale so that we could take advantage of hearing him again – a great touch.
The other parts were all played by Joshua Thompson, which worked well within the script, all varying looks and types of characterisation, very nicely achieved.
The finale using Audrey II’s victims with their flower headdresses was great fun, I loved it, it was just the slightly quirky finish that suited the production.
This production had a hint of the comic strip about it, but in other ways was very sophisticated and also fun. We had laugh out loud moments, along with poignancy, always supported by a strong cast and musically excellent.