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Review: Little Shop Of Horrors @ Thwaites Empire Theatre
SOMEHOW, despite never having seen the show, I knew nearly every word in every song of Little Shop Of Horrors.
And I’m glad to have filled in the blanks and seen the story in full now, as told by Rossendale Amateur Operatic Society at Thwaites Empire Theatre, until Saturday.
It’s not often that the star of the show doesn’t show their face until the curtain call, and Robert Haken’s backstage vocals as the crazed plant Audrey II were great.
Keeping a distinct character and reacting to the on-stage performances is no mean feat when you can’t bounce off your fellow players or the audience.
And well done to Nick Brennand inside the plant - a tough job to keep up with the dialogue and vocals.
That’s not to discredit Grant Alistair Bromley and Claire St Pierre as Seymour and Audrey.
Grant played the awkward orphan with great skill in all areas and it was easy to see why Audrey falls for his sweetly geeky charms, while Claire’s delicate portrayal tugged at the heartstrings.
Pete Astbury was on good form as Mushnik, suitably slimy with a bit of a soft centre although I wasn’t too upset at his evetual fate!
John Moorehead had the right level of weird as Orin the dentist, although he could have been crazier - don’t be afraid to really let rip on the gas, get more of it in you.
The 1960s-style girl group Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon (Lydia Kate Hollinson, Ruth Tunnicliffe and Steph Horne) drive the action as the tales narrators, but needed more of that Supremes-like sass and a snappier performance of the choreography, which was very fitting.
The company gave some good cameos - especially Paddy Walsh as Snip.
Musical director Jonathan Chalker’s band had a real challenge, being tucked backstage, but they came through clear, tight and funky in keeping with the show’s era.
Sadly, some of the vocals and underscored dialogue was lost a times, but that was a more of a microphone issue than the band being too loud - they were at the right level for the style of music.
Better projection by the cast on a couple of instances would also have helped combat this.
In his adult musical directing debut, Paul McGowan kept the action flowing on a static set, which although simple was imaginatively used.
A truely enjoyable show, with catchy melodies I’ve been humming all week.
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