Review by Karen Wyatt-Epapara
Little Shop of Horrors is one of my all-time favourite shows. I was introduced to it at what was Poole Arts Centre as a teenager, and have seen it several times since, including a recent touring production at the Bournemouth Pavilion, so when I was invited to review this version by Wimborne Musical Theatre, I was looking forward to seeing their treatment of the story. It was an excellent performance, thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and cast alike, and you can still see it this evening, or Saturday.
If you’re not familiar with it, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of Seymour Krelborn, an assistant at Mushnik’s Flower Shop in Skid Row, New York, who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers a strange and exotic plant. Seymour is secretly in love with Audrey, but she is in a dubious relationship with a dentist called Orin Scrivello. Seymour’s fortunes are tied to Audrey Two, who grows into a bad-tempered, foul-mouthed carnivore with an insatiable appetite. Seymour wrestles with his conscience as he gets closer to Audrey and sees possibilities for his future.
I was pleased to see a familiar set – provided by UK Productions Ltd – which was the first indication that this version would be true to the original stage show. The early group numbers were performed with gusto, and were a taste of what was to come.
The lead actors were strong in both their singing and acting performances. Duncan Sayers as Seymour and Selina Rumbold as Audrey shared a compelling chemistry, and their duets were particularly impressive.
Michael Leggett, as Mr Mushnik, kept an impeccable New York accent throughout, and delivered some tricky songs with apparent ease.
Simon Langford, as the voice of Audrey Two, had the appropriate level of power and soul behind his voice, while Lee Neal as Orin Scrivello showed light and shade in his characterisation.
Mikaela Bucky, Julie Sissons and Jemma Cable, as Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon took on the role of a Greek chorus, commenting on the action through song and dance in a most entertaining manner.
In this show particularly, the back stage crew comes into its own. Puppeteers Hilary Baker and Calum Hearne deserve a mention, as does choreographer Suzi de Villiers.
Director Duncan Trew and musical director Jonathan Spratt have done an excellent job of putting this production together, and should be commended for taking on such a demanding show with aplomb.
Little Shop of Horrors is running at the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne until tomorrow, Saturday 9 April. For tickets, go to www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk or call 01202 885566.
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