Little Shop of Horrors ***

08Apr09

Menier Chocolate Factory Production, currently on a UK tour

Glasgow, King’s Theatre: Monday 6th April – Saturday 11th April 2009
Sunderland, Empire Theatre: Monday 13th April – Saturday 18th April 2009
Nottingham, Theatre Royal: Monday 20th April – Saturday 25th April 2009
Manchester, Opera House: Monday 27th April – Saturday 2nd May 2009
Liverpool, Empire Theatre: Monday 4th May – Saturday 9th May 2009
Milton Keynes Theatre: Monday 11th May – Saturday 16th May 2009
Woking, New Victoria Theatre: Monday 18th May – Saturday 23rd May 2009

Theatres across the land are currently being taken over by the flesh eating plant, Audrey II, in the very successful Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, now on tour. The musical is traditionally performed in intimate spaces, but has been scaled-up to be performed in larger theatre venues in this current tour. In Little Shop of Horrors’ history small scale productions have a tendency to be better received, as a lot of the humour, terror and character approachability can be lost in large theatre spaces. Unfortunately, the same comment can be applied to this production. However there is no denying that Menier Chocolate Factory’s reincarnation is slickly paced and performed with great style, consequently Seymour and Audrey’s sentimental love story can still be enthralling and entertaining.

Damian Humbley and Clare Buckfield take on the roles of Seymour and Audrey, humble and naive characters that briefly find comfort and love in each other before being eaten. The reality presented in Skid Road, where everyone is in danger of being eaten, may be far from our own, yet Seymour’s downfall because of his ambition and the plant’s influence has connotations of tragic theatrical tradition. The sadistic dentist is played by Alex Ferns in this production, a part he appears to revel in and shines as he entertain the, more than eager, audience.

Overall, and quiet rightly so, the star of the musical is the plant. Mike McShane’s voice booms through the auditorium, allowing for Audrey II to be both humorous and terrifying, assisted by the impressive puppetry techniques. Perhaps this productions is not quiet the best the musical can be, ultimately due to the venues that this production is touring to, yet this musical is created with great loyalty to the lovable story.

TF

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