Little Shop of Horrors has a surreal storyline set to an early sixties soundtrack encompassing ‘doo wap’, motown and rock and roll. For a while I could not fathom why this is a PG rated performance until I remembered the scene at the dentists and so maybe PG rated is fair enough!
This is your statutory notice that here at dear old Leftlion our function is not to write advertising copy for production companies but to help our readers decide whether to give up some precious time and hard earned moolah on seeing a particular show. So, if what follows sounds like some crazed adman on an illegal high, it’s not, just my honest and impartial response to a truly stupendous professionally-led community production.
The set and properties were excellently planned, full of detail and beautifully realised by the construction team. The pièce de résistance being a huge green puppet, playing the part of Audrey II, designed by graduating Theatre Design students from Nottingham Trent University. Honourable mention should be made of the tiny doorbell which was a fantastic theatrical device supremely well utilised by the cast.
The show opens with Ella Greenwood (Chiffon), Nicola Bilton (Crystal) and Emma McDonald (Ronette) who proceeded, on and off, to sing and dance their hearts out. All three were eye catching in very different ways and yet they had a common urban styling which turned them into a formidable team.
James McAndrew (Orin Scrivello) played the abusive boyfriend and dentist from hell with terrifying realism. He also went onto play a host of minor parts in quick succession showing his versatility. Andrew Haynes (Gravis Mushnik) was quite possibly more than twice the age of the next eldest member of the cast and entertained the audience with a delightful character performance. Mark Coffey-Bainbridge showcased his excellent vocals as the voice of Audrey II.
Pride of place goes to Oscar Conlon-Morrey (Seymour) and Laura Thomson (Audrey) who were individually brilliant but together gave a magical performance and their duet of ‘Suddenly Seymour’ was heartrending. My favourite moment was Laura’s peerless rendition of ‘Somewhere That’s Green’. My lexicon is on empty so I just have to confess that I had tears rolling down my cheeks during that number.
But this show was so much more than individual performances, it was a fantastic ensemble piece of tremendous discipline and breathtaking quality. I have seen many of the big West End shows, countless productions of The Sound of Music, The King and I et cetera, et cetera but have I ever enjoyed anything as much as this? Frankly no!
New Street Theatre Company do not need this review to sell their show for them, word of mouth will certainly do that. As previously stated I am no adman but surely those oft used words of warning have never been so apposite “Book Now To Avoid Disappointment”
Little Shop of Horrors runs at the Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham from Tuesday 10 July to Saturday 21 July 2012.