The cult classic Little Shop of Horrors is funny, in your face, musically diverse, and a galloping good time.
Little Shop opened at the Brisbane Arts Theatre on Friday 15th November. Written by Howard Ashman with songs composed by Alan Menken, it is commonly referred to as a comedy horror rock musical. A horror concept mixed with comedy laden dialogue, and fantastic rock music, this show has something for everyone.
Under the magnificent direction of Luke Volker, the lively band did a fantastic job of setting the mood, right from the start. The opening had everyone involved immediately as the music is exceptionally catchy and up beat and the band delivered big time. Sometimes the sound from the singers came through a bit muffled, but whether this was due to technical hitches or not quite enough enunciation, I’m not sure. Many of the songs are used to help tell the story, so the words really need to come out clean and precise so the audience knows what is going on.
The set was also impressive; designed and painted most capably by a huge team of creatives, including Chancie Jessup and Rebecca Woods. This was a real ‘all star’ show where the crew seemed to have spent more time in the limelight than the cast!
The cartoon-like program is a great read, listing everybody’s many achievements. Brisbane Arts Theatre is fortunate to have such a talented production crew; each and every one of them very experienced, well educated and professionals in their field.
And something we don’t get to see everyday – a puppeteer at work! Tom Yaxley must have had fun, along with puppet designers Scott Lymbery, Zane Webber and Laurene Cooper-Fox. Audrey II had all the cuteness about it as a small plant, then as it grew, the perception of cuteness changed to awe, and then to plain scary. All who were involved did a great job of the plant itself and all the shenanigans it got up to!
Josh Daveta was the perfect voice for Audrey II, but again, sometimes a little muffled with his words especially in “Feed Me” – surely one of the highlights of the whole show. The whole cast were excellent; special mention to the three ladies who played Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette. They were as beautiful as their voices and their harmonies were really tight. All their scenes were lively and full of dancing and movement which they all pulled off without a hitch. Singing whilst dancing at the same time is very difficult and these three ladies were funny, confident, and didn’t miss a beat, as they led us through the plot. Oh, and they also changed the scenery!
The rest of the cast were also outstanding. Lauren Ware was cute and ditzy as the heroine Audrey. Gary Farmer did a super job of the role of Seymour, with strong vocals. Damien Campagnolo lent some wisdom and experience to the part of Mr Mushnik, and Kieran Davey was a suitably psychopathic Orin, while Josh Whitten filled in the other minor roles with conviction.
Miranda Selwood delivered a very tight show. It was well rehearsed, well cast and was an entertaining polished production. Well done to all involved – a most splendid spectacle!