Little Shop of Horrors - Musical ☆☆☆☆4

Showing from - Wednesday, March 11, 2015 through till Saturday, March 14, 2015

Duchess Theatre - Long Eaton

Sheridan Halton | Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Little Shop of Horrors reviewed by Sheridan Halton on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 for Downstage CentreSuddenly Seymour finds himself in trouble... Chris Collington gets to grips with Craig Arme at the Duchess Theatre

Little Shop of Horrors is a kooky, sci-fi horror musical which, despite starting off innocently enough in Mr Mushnik’s failing flower shop on Skid Row, goes on to show just how quickly things can escalate!

Picture the scene; boy loves girl, girl doesn’t yet realise it, but she loves boy too. Add to that picture a masochistic dentist, an Eastern European florist and a very “strange and interesting” plant and what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot as it turns out!

Based the low-budget 1960 film of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors is certainly a challenge for any amateur group to perform. But ‘The Cast’, based in Long Eaton, are not known for shying away from a challenge nor for picking any run-of –the-mill  productions which often do the rounds in local amateur theatre. Indeed recent outings for the The Cast include shows such as ‘Eurobeat’ and Bad Girls’ which certainly add to the diversity of what is a thriving theatre scene in Long Eaton following the resurrection of the Duchess Theatre in 2010.Little Shop of Horrors The Cast Long Eaton

By using performers from different musical societies across the Nottingham and Derby areas who are invited to perform in their productions, The Cast are able to assemble some very talented line-ups for their productions and are also able to limit the cast numbers on stage, something which is of enormous benefit when working on the oft cramped stages that are available to amateurs. This production certainly used these factors to its great advantage with never more than 16 performers on the stage showing that this is enough to create a great musical ‘sound’ and ‘look’.


Energy and Verve

Praise must go to Musical Director Dave Dallard, Director Martin Holtom and Choreographer Jennifer Chatten  for shaping and polishing the on-stage performances to create this overall effect. The small 5-piece band certainly made for a great accompaniment, belting out Alan Menken’s rock and roll score with great energy and verve. There were times when the band were so enthusiastic that some of the on stage singing was a little lost, particularly towards the final climax of the show, however the volume and energy added greatly to the atmosphere of the numbers particularly in act 2. It is always a difficult trade-off to create the right balance of atmosphere and vocal audibility, on the whole however, the sound production was of a very high quality.

Now it is usual for productions of this particular musical to have one undeniable star of the show, the plant Audrey II. Craig Arme and Emily Marshall-Sims demonstrate some of the most animated and enthusiastic stage kisses ever seenHowever in this production, despite a seriously impressive ‘Twoey’, it was the ‘human’ characters that really shone in this production. None more so than the two ill-fated lovers Seymour and Audrey played by Craig Arme and Emily Marshall-Sims who as well as demonstrating some of the most animated and enthusiastic stage kisses ever seen, were also able to demonstrate their fantastic vocal and characterisation talents. Arme had the character of the hapless, timid yet kind Seymour down to a tee. He had the sympathy of the audience from his first clattering entrance on to the stage and even shared some impressive puppetry skills in Act 1. Marshall-Sims also gave a stunning portrayal of Audrey who flitted around the stage drawing admiring glances from Seymour and leaving a flurry of feathers in her wake as she took to dusting the florists. Their duet in the second Act ‘Suddenly Seymour’ was a real highlight and both principals executed their songs beautifully throughout, they simply sparkled!


Thoroughly Entertaining

Also demonstrating first class vocals were Christopher Collington with his thoroughly Little Shop of Horrors The Cast Long Eaton Duchess Theatreentertaining portrayal of the seriously disturbed dentist Orin and Kevin Chatten in the unseen role as the voice of Audrey II. Both of them demonstrated immense talent. There was also a very nice turn from John Maddison as the owner of the florist store, Mr Mushnik. In addition to performing the most alarming shimmies in his number ‘Mushnik and Son’ he gave a very endearing performance which added to the overall charm of the story that was being told on stage.
In addition to the strong principal line-up there was great support from the rest of the cast, with some pleasing vocals from the two on-stage trios of Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon and Petula, Dusty and Urma  played by Emily Corner, Claire Farrand-Preston, Kathi Ludlow, Carrie-Anne Corner, Mina Machin and Katie Bird respectively.


Obvious Enthusiasm

What really made this production stand out was the obvious enthusiasm of all involved, not only on the stage but also off the stage with some very nice touches such as plants being sold in the foyer and special green Audrey II biscuits being sold at the coffee bar, much to the delight of the youngsters in the audience.

Overall this is a very praiseworthy show which provides for an excellent nights entertainment. If you haven’t got tickets yet, do all you can to lay your hands on some, but just remember, whatever you do, ‘DON’T FEED THE PLANTS!!


Production Information

Theatre: Duchess Theatre

Showing Until: Saturday, March 14, 2015

Production Company: The Cast

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