The Royal Exchange are dishing up a delicious black comedy delight with their latest production, Little Shop of Horrors. The macabre but funny musical tells the tale of geeky shop assistant Seymour who works down on ‘Skid Row’ in Mr Mushnik’s florist. When Seymour stumbles upon an exotic version of a venus fly trap and takes it back to the shop his life changes forever as the plant needs feeding and it has a carnivorous craving!
Director Derek Bond is at the helm of this production of Little Shop of Horrors and he has done a fine job of staging it in the glorious round of the Exchange, so much so you actually feel the musical was wrote to be played that way.
Gunnar Cauthery creates a loveable nerd in spectacle wearing Seymour and has a great voice and quirky comedic style. His love interest – Audrey (the fragile tart with a heart) is played by Kelly Price and together the pair make a hapless duo that you are rooting for to get their happy ending.
If you are of a certain age you may remember the 1986 movie version starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin but even if you are a LSOH’s newbie you will not fail to enjoy every second of this spectacular show.
There’s a rousing opening courtesy of Ibinabo Jack (Chiffon), Joelle Moses (Ronette) and Ellena Vincent (Crystal), a trio of soul divas who belt nbso online casino reviews out the theme tune with their powerhouse voices. The girls are on point throughout with their matching sparkly costumes and sassy moves, expertly linking scenes with Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s catchy songs.
Ako Mitchell is a treat to watch as he tears up the stage as Orin Scrivello DDS aka the sadistic soul singing ‘Dentist’. He has the audience in stitches with his unhinged performance as the man who has a penchant for nitrous oxide and inflicting pain. Mitchell also displays his talent in a number of cameos on top of his main role, managing to make each one unique and equally hilarious.
In fact there’s not one weak link in the stellar cast of unbelievably just 10 people. Whilst the characters they portray in the show may be looking at the gutters, the performers who play them are certainly reaching for the stars.
A big nod must go to puppetry designer and director Toby Olie who has created an impressive Audrey II, which has to be seen to be believed. Controlled by 3 puppeteers (Nuno Silva, CJ Johnson and James Charlton) the botanical beast mauls its prey with ease and can be seen in its full glory as we reach the second half of the show. I also defy you not to marvel at the deep voiced Silva who bring the plant to life with incredible energy and booming vocals.
Now I don’t want to spoil the ending but what I will say to fans is that it differs to the film version so you will be in for a shock – albeit a superb one. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the reserved Royal Exchange crowd give a show a standing ovation but this audience leapt to its feet straight away after the finale and I’m told it’s been like that every night since it opened. No wonder the shows run has already been extended for a further 2 weeks.
If you haven’t got a ticket yet then go buy one…before a certain Audrey II bites your hand off for it!
Royal Exchange Theatre
St Ann’s Square, Manchester
Friday 5 December 2014 – Saturday 31 January 2015