Little Shop of Horrors

Wed 7th – Sat 10th March 2012


Anna Louise Page

at 12:29 on 8th Mar 2012



Immediately upon entering Cripps Auditorium, your eyes are drawn to the creeping vine entwined up the staircase, and you can sense the effort that has gone into transforming a space that doesn't lend itself to a musical production in to something more magical. It definitely worked, and the set design that marked the transformation of Audrey II from a mere pot plant to an expansive, stage-covering beast was magnificent. The seamless operation of the plant's magnificent fly trap, and the ease with which whole cast members were swallowed helped this play cross the line between amateur and professional set design and scenery. Special mention must go Aidan Irwin-Singer for his deliciously theatrical and evil performance of the voice for Audrey II (the plant), although it is a considerable shame that the poor audio meant he was occasionally drowned out in the songs. Despite the problems with microphones, Rosalind Peters delivered an amazing performance as Audrey, who for me stole the show. Her clean, crisp voice rose easily through the auditorium and her renditions of 'Somewhere That's Green' and 'Suddenly Seymour' were so truthful and endearing they sent shivers down my spine. The duets between her and Nick Morrison, taking the lead role as Seymour, were particularly strong, and their chemistry as a couple was both sweet and believable. Nick-Morrison proved to be a strong leading man, both vocally and in his acting ability, flawlessly carrying off the American accent and providing some heart-breaking and realistic expressions of pain as his plans crumble throughout the musical.

Matthew Elliot-Ripley's delightfully over-the-top performance as leather clad, slick haired and masochistic dentist was worryingly good, and one should watch this show merely to hear the octaves his manic, gas-induced stage laughter can reach. The comic potential shared between him and Sam Clinton-Davis as Mushnick provided multiple laugh-out loud moments that made this show worth watching.

The lead roles in this show were undoubtedly strong, but were unfortunately let down by audio problems from both speakers and microphones, and some over ambitious harmonies from the chorus. However, what the soprano 'urchins' lacked in vocal range they made up for with sassy down-town attitude, and settled more in to the performance as the show went on. Opening night stage-nerves must definitely be accounted for, and one hopes that over the course of the next few runs they will continue to vocally improve.

This quirky, upbeat musical is definitely worth a visit if one desires a break from the constant highbrow productions on offer. You are guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and humming the much loved theme tune - as I certainly did all the way back to college.


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