Music: Alan Menken
Book &Lyrics: Howard Ashman
Director: Tim Baker
Reviewer: Steve Davies
Upon entering the auditorium at Theatr Clwyd the audience is met with an image of Skid Row, the home of down-and-out bums. There are piles of trash-cans and litter on the street. This is backed by a fantastic shimmering projection of the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bloody lettering.
The show starts with the sparkling voices (and dresses) of Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon impressively played by Maisey Bawden, Danielle Kassaraté and Paige Miller respectively. They switch with ease from soul girls to street urchins, their rich voices setting the scenes as narrators for the tale. The tale being that of Seymour Krelbourn, delightfully underplayed by Daniel Boys, who lives with his adoptive father, Mr Mushnik (Phylip Harriesm, well known to Theatr Clwyd audiences) in the Skid Row florist shop. One day Seymour discovers a ‘strange and exotic plant’, displays it in the shop window and turns around the fortunes of the failing business. But we soon discover that not only can this plant sing (VERY well through Daniel Lloyd) it also feeds on blood and flesh.
This is not the typical plot for a musical but Little Shop of Horrors isn’t your typical musical! The strong company delight in their renditions of the songs that range from 60s Do-Wop to the powerful love duet, Suddenly, Seymour, performed exquisitely by Boys along with Georgina White as Audrey. In fact Boys’ voice is a highlight of the show, displaying great range and power.
Some of the comedic lines are too underplayed in this production, but not by Garry Lake as Orin, the sadistic dentist. His song has the audience squirming in their seats. He shows his versatility even more as he skilfully switches between a number of other characters later in the show.
As the flesh-hungry plant grows so the talent of the designers, Ruth Hall and Max Jones shines through as Audrey II (the plant) – takes over the stage and ultimately (spoiler alert) the world. The set is in fact the star of this show. From the opening scene to the ‘reveal’ of the florist shop in its many forms, to the costumes, the subtle projections and of course the plants this is a clever design that reaches an explosive climax in the show’s powerful finale.
For lovers of musical theatre this hits all the right notes; for fans of 50s B-movies this gives more than a nod to that genre; and for pure escapism this is a great night at the theatre.
Runs until 31st October 2015 | Photo: Catherine Ashmore