Blooming fantastic – The Royal Exchange at it’s best
Our reviewer Lorna absolutely loved this production of Little Shop of Horrors, giving it “5 stars all the way and more if I could”. It definitely sounds like one not to be missed!
To say I was pretty excited to see Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange was an understatement.
Well who doesn’t love a 1950’s musical sci-fi horror comedy?
I was intrigued to know how a huge man eating alien plant would translate to a theatre in the round and I was certainly not disappointed!
Let the awful plant related puns commence…
The shop soon to become one of horrors is Mushnik’s flower shop, a failing florist on Skid Row in 1950’s New York, staffed by hapless assistant Seymour Krelborn.
With the shop facing closure, amateur botanist Seymour persuades Mr Musnik to let him display an unusual and exotic plant he bought from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse.
As you do.
The plant in question is Audrey II, named after his co-worker and the secret object of Seymour’s affections.
Seymour soon discovers that Audrey II’s tastes stretch a bit further than Miracle Gro, but the more it grows, the more customers flock to Mushnik’s to get a glimpse of the super plant. Seymour becomes an overnight celebrity and business is better than ever.
Sadly Audrey in human form has some undesirable tastes too, especially when it comes to her boyfriend, sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello.
But will Seymour’s newfound fame win him the girl or will he be at risk of over watering from his own tears?
The play was certainly no grower; it came into full blossom from the opening note.
The whole cast were perfect together and if it was possible to mention them all I would. Audrey is played superbly and with impressive vocals by Kelly Price (last seen at the Royal Exchange in That Day We Sang), while motorbike-riding dentist Orin Scrivello, is brought to life manically by Ako Mitchell.
The live musical accompaniment makes the play a feel good rock n roll sensation, which will leave you singing aloud long after you’ve left the theatre (and much to the annoyance of anyone in the nearby vicinity).
The star of the show has to be Audrey II. It’s no mean feat to pull off a hugely animated giant man eating alien plant in such an intimate theatre, let alone one in the round, but then again there was no ordinary team behind it.
The brains behind the plant was Toby Olié, super puppeteer and one third of Joey the horse in the original National Theatre production of War Horse.
Under his direction Audrey II is brought to life with true sass by Nuno Silva, who not only provides AMAZING vocals but completely nails the mannerisms and eccentricities you’d expect from a cunningly carnivorous super plant hell bent on world domination.
Not forgetting supporting cast members James Charlton and CJ Johnson, who should get a pat on the plant pot for doing an equally brilliant job in bringing life to Audrey II too.
A standing ovation said it all from the audience and the play will not disappoint in making you utterly uplifted with it’s own macabre charm.
If by the time you’ve gotten to the end of this review and tickets have not sold out completely, GO! Book some immediately! Or you’ll have missed a performance that others will be raving about until well into the New Year.
Little Shop of Horrors runs from 5th December 2014 – 31st January 2015. For more information, to book tickets and for a full cast list, click here.
Photographs: Jonathan Keenan for The Royal Exchange