Little Shop Of Horrors

Date 23rd May 2012
Society Urmston Musical Theatre
Venue St Antonys College, Urmston
Type of Production Musical Comedy
Director Andrew Kielty
Musical Director Debbie Holmes
Choreographer Melanie Drinkwater

Report

Author: Kevin Proctor

Little Shop Of Horrors: the comic thriller of Mr Mushnik’s ailing flower shop on Skid Row, whose fortunes are saved by a man eating plant - at the cost of, just about, everyone’s lives!

Often in junior productions we see a stage crammed with kids and unnecessary choreography for no other reason than to involve everyone as much as possible, thankfully this was not the case in this Urmston Juniors show, staying true to the piece and to deliver it as intended, the chorus of Skid Row residents were only used when required. Particularly with youth productions of ‘Little Shop…’ it is a popular choice to scrap ‘the 3 girls’ (which are so iconic to this show) and replace them with a chorus, I prefer this show much more with the girls so I was pleased to see the production team had stuck to the book on this one.

Choreographer Melanie Drinkwater had the movement style spot on with 1950’s girl group movement for the female narrators / Greek chorus trio. Melanie’s choreography was consistent creating the right touches and not making the common mistake of overdoing it with complex moves which would only look out of place for a show of this nature.

Andrew Kielty’s direction was kept faithful to the ‘Little Shop’ we know and love, his passion for the production was prominent roping in his family to help build the plants and working on the technical team though sadly, he was unable to sit back and enjoy his production as he was inside Audrey 2 for most of it!

Unfortunately, the band was this productions weakest asset, they were not tight enough, lacked the funk and excitement of the show plus the MD missed far too many ques!

The group singing was very quiet and not confident enough, part of the Musical Director’s job is to energise and inspire the group and get them to enjoy singing out, vocal and physical warm up exercises would be a good start to putting this right!

George Bissett’s interpretation of Seymour was good, he sung well and gave us a confident, relaxed and effortless performance.

Audrey, played by Megan Collier did not give us the stereotypical Audrey you’d expect, she added splashes of her own interpretation which was nice, I would’ve liked to have seen more of this but she did revert back to the always safe option of mirroring the film. Not her fault but her costumes were a misleading mix of styles and themes making it a tad confusing for the audience to identify her character.

Stand out moments for me were ‘Mushnik and Son’ which was delivered with humour and spark from the two lads who clearly had fun with this number!  The Customer; a small part but this just goes to show you only need a few lines to make a difference to a production; the characterisation was comical, larger than life and confident, well done!

‘The Meek Shall Inherit’ was the strongest ensemble piece which in many productions I’ve seen is often the weakest so congratulations on that. Finally, Philippa Anamoah as ‘the voice of Audrey 2’ was fantastic, I love to be proved wrong by societies and this was the perfect example of just that, I would never have chosen a girl to do this part but I’ve got to give her credit, Philippa did a terrific job, she sung with the right amount of attitude and delivered a powerful characterisation, truly making the part her own which is a superb achievement, without even being seen by the audience. Congratulations!

This musical is in my list of top 10 favourite shows, having seen many productions of this wonderfully kitsch musical over the years, I never get tired of it! Youth productions of it add extra innocence to the story and, in places, some of its moments are even more comical delivered by youth actors. A great choice!

Congratulations Urmston Juniors!