Review- Little Shop of Horrors: little show, big heart
Audrey (Esther Hannaford) and Audrey II face the inevitable as Seymour (Brent Hill) looks on. Photo: Jeff Busby.
After-party images from Deanne Scott follow the review.
Little Shop of Horrors
Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Based on the movie by Harvey Korman
Directed by Dam Bryant
Choreographer Andrew Hallworth
Musical Director Andrew Worboys
Luckiest Productions and Tinderbox Productions
Queensland Perfuming Arts Centre
Season: June 3-12. Bookings at 136 246 or www.qpac.com.au
The B grade movie mix that was the inspiration for this stage musical has long faded to oblivion, but the musical about the serial killer plant, Audrey II, lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of fans world-wide. And a lot of them packed into the Playhouse Theatre to watch and cheer the latest incarnation of this cult classic.
In keeping with its origins this is a small show. The producers did well to bring the attention onto the simple set in the expanse of the Playhouse stage. The play has a cast of eight, three of them a soul singing group, and a six piece band. There are no lavish sets, no chorus lines, and no huge show-stopping musical spectaculars. It is all about story, silly as it might be, and character.
The odd thing is that although the writers have created cartoon stereotypes, they managed to give them heart and make them believable.
The plot is second nature to many followers, but for new fans: Nerdy flower shop assistant Seymour Krelborn works in Mr Mushnik’s shop in Skid, a shop that is going down the gurgler fast. He is in love with not very bright colleague Audrey, who is contently beaten up by her sadistic motor bike riding dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello: a pair of classic losers indeed.
Seymour has stumbled across a peculiar new plant species, which he names after his secret love. The sinister plant seems like his ticket to fame and fortune, but the plant grows and grows, and grows! Seymour discovers that feeding Audrey drops of blood from his finger tips is not enough as the plant starts to demand stronger – fresh – stuff.
Seymour and Audrey must battle the killer plant not just for their lives, but for the future of planet earth!
Of course Audrey II takes over the stage as the rap-talking star of the show – literally. It takes the whole cast to bring the marvellously persuasive piece of fabulous flora to unstoppable life.
Angelique Cassimatis, Josie Lane and Chloe Zuel are the soul singing trio of Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette And they bop along to 60s-style songs like the title song and Skid Row and add sassy characters to the Skid Row inhabitants, which are more often drunk then sober and played mainly by Dash Kruck, who has a busy time of it.
They also backed the solos and duets from the rest of the cast. I had problems understanding the words of many of the songs from the trio, which was probably the noisy sound system.
Brent Hill played Seymour very nicely and sang well either in solos like Grow for Me and duets with Esther Hannaford, who was a very zany Audrey. I enjoyed her performance with its weird accent and comic timing.
Tyler Coppin, was funny as the mercenary Mr Mushnik but Scott Johnson was my pick of the night as the leather-jacketed dentist. He had great delivery and really gave us laughs with his songs – Be a Dentist and Now (It’s just the gas).
It is a couple of hours of easy to watch entertainment, always funny and never boring. Old fans will have a ball and newcomers will enjoy the experience.
Angelique Cassimatis and friend Eloise
QPAC CEO John Kotzas and Eric Scott share a joke.
Tyler Coppin and Dash Kruck
The crazy dentist, Scott Johnson with Eric Scott