Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 6 May 2016
Little Shop of Horrors, May 5, 2016 ****
Music by Alan Menken,
book by Howard Ashman Produced by Luckiest Productions & Tinderbox Productions Comedy
Theatre until May 22, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:****
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Fri May 6, 2016 & iater in print . KH
gigantic, flesh-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors looks like the mutant
progeny of an oversized, frill-necked lizard and an enormous pink and green
In this horror-comedy-rock musical (music by Alan
Menken, book by Howard Ashman), a geeky young florist, Seymour Krelborn
(Brent Hill), finds and rears an unusual and seemingly innocuous plant that
thrives on human blood and flesh and evidently came down in the last meteor
names the plant Audrey II, after his ditzy co-worker, Audrey (Esther Hannaford),
who he secretly adores, and Mr. Mushnik’s (Tyler Coppin) florist shop goes
gangbusters after the public discover this eccentric shrub that just keeps on
flourishing on flesh.
Bryant’s taut production, with snappy and audacious choreography by Andrew
Hallsworth, captures the quirkiness and absurdity of this parodic musical that
became a cult classic after being spawned from Roger Corman’s 1960 B-grade
Esther Hannaford is the stand out with
her hilariously idiosyncratic and detailed depiction of the
idiotic but adorable Audrey, and she mines huge laughs from her twitchy, angular
physicality and from the tiniest snippets of dialogue or Audrey’s effusive squeaks
Hannaford’s versatile voice is bright-toned and
sweet in the ballad, Somewhere That’s Green, but is thrilling when she balances
bold, belting notes with softness in her duet with Hill, Suddenly, Seymour.
brings his distinctive, comic talent and impeccable timing to the daggy Seymour
and his formidable vocal skill is a highlight when he belts out the raunchy,
James Brown-style funk number, Git It (Feed Me), singing it as the voice of the
grotesque plant, Audrey II.
Menken’s music, played by Andrew Worboys and his tight band, ranges in style
from the Rhythm and Blues of Skidrow (Downtown) to 60s rock, funk, Doo-Wop and
Coppin is a
Chaplinesque clown as Mr. Mushnik, the florist, while Scott Johnson as the
sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello, is like a bizarre giggling Elvis.
tough, sassy, powerfully voiced gals played by Angelique Cassimatis (Crystal),
Josie Lane (Chiffon) and Chloe Zuel (Ronnette) provide assured, harmonious vocals
but also fill in narrative detail as would a Greek chorus.
II, designed by Puppet Erth, is a vivid, bumptious, manipulative and scary
creature that devours people in increasingly gruesome ways.
Shop of Horrors succeeds as a kooky, cult classic that entertains the audience with
its impudent parody of schlock horror.