Little Shop of Horrors (review)

A STRANGE and interesting plant threatened world domination much to the delight of audiences at Leighton Theatre who packed the stalls to see the opening of the schlock musical spoof, Little Shop of Horrors.

Thursday, 7th June 2012, 9:55 am

Howard Ashman’s hilarious tale about a carnivorous plant called Audrey (II) was a cult classic thanks to Roger Corman’s 1960 film and, its more famous 1986 remake, but it’s made a whole new generation of fans thanks to the wonderfully funny re-telling of the story by the Leighton Masqueraders.

This group goes from strength to strength by lining up productions that are off the am-dram mainstream and the gamble is paying off.

There were laughs a plenty plus good, strong musical performances from a cast who looked as though they were having as much fun on stage as we were sitting in the stalls.

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But, however good you are, it must smart that you’re upstaged by a ferocious man-eating plant. In this production the star of the show was definitely the huge rubber monster that took centre stage and the talented performers who appeared within and behind the scenes.

Matthew Allen provided the superb vocals for the adult version of the alien creature. It took a second, at the curtain call, to work out who he was until this slight young man let out a deep roar of “Feed Me!” to an thrilled audience. He was aided and abetted by Harry Mason who helped with the mechanics of an increasingly demanding herbivorial monster.

Little Shop tells the story of a hapless young flower seller, Seymour Krelborn, who puts the Skid Row business where he works on the map by creating a new type of plant. It isn’t until he accidentally cuts his finger that he realises that the only thing that can keep his voracious seedling alive is human blood and gore.

Tom Dale, as Seymour, had the nerd look off to a tee and the personality to lead this production from the front. On occasions the grimaces made him look decidedly Alan Carr but the young actor was barely off stage and came up with some powerful vocals for songs including Grow For Me and Suddenly Seymour.

His duet with flower shop owner Gravis Mushnik (a sometime quietly-spoken Steve Berrisford) was one of a number of highlights of the night with the pair making fun of themselves in the hilarious Mushnik and Son.

Kate Harrris sparkled as the ditsy blonde shop assistant,  Audrey, and it was welcoming to hear a good American accent.

This was a gem of a show, supported by a great band and a lot of love and commitment from the whole company. A tremendous night’s theatre from a group that celebrated its 30th anniversary with a memorable show.

The Masqueraders’ next production is The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes. If you’d like to become involved there is an open evening on Thursday, June 14, at The Village Barn, Heath and Reach, starting at 7.30.

Go onto www.leightonmasqueraders.co.uk for more details.

ANNE COX.