Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

A lot of love and enthusiasm

Little Shop of Horrors

Moonlight Theatre , St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life , November-07-02
The thought of going to see a musical normally fills me with dread, but the combination of walking through the beautiful, idyllic grounds of St Fagans Museum and contemplating what the completed monster plant would look like on stage made me warm to the idea!

Set in a dilapidated florist’s, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is a light hearted look at the issues and aspirations of the first teenagers living down-town in 1950s America, and the inevitability of corruption associated with unfortunate attempts to better oneself and the accompanying material gain.

Seymour, the shop assistant – who discovers and nurtures the world’s most frightening ever plant – looks fantastic, sporting the most wonderful tank top and geeky NHS glasses with compulsory elastoplast. His girl (eventually) Audrey (no. 1) looks and sounds the part in a Marylin Monroe impersonating outfit and a great New York squeak of a voice. The chorus of three pouting, singing, street-wise chicks helped move the action along, revealing hidden parts of the set such as the surgery of the confident and charismatic dentist-from-hell! The colourful set designed by Katy Beazer, also had to house the rather vital, rather large man-eating plant puppet (Audrey no.2), which, to much mirth and delight, spoke with the voice and personality of Richard O’Brian of Rocky Horror and Crystal Maze fame!

The sound was sometimes a tad imperfect as the music volume occasionally obscured the vocal levels, but controlling radio mikes and technology in general is bound to be more problematic in a temporary auditorium outdoors.

What I most respect about amateur theatre performers is that they do it purely for the love of, and have to put in perhaps as much rehearsal and preparation time as is required for a wholly professional show of the same scale, and probably on top of a day job and all the usual domestic duties and dramas. There was a lot of love and enthusiasm put into this production, which really showed through in every song and with every character, which is especially good as there are a number of professionals in every field who do not commit themselves emotionally in this way and scrape by, involving themselves to the minimum so as to accept and juggle another job, (though probably a small number, else they might not remain professional for long, or at least not remain respected for artistic talent or integrity).

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was a clever choice of production, totally appropriate for Summer Festival and green outdoor setting, as it has a botanical theme and such a comic script. Importantly, this gentle humour was well delivered both orally and visually through movement and detailed character interactions so quick you’d have missed them if you blinked, presumably improvised then edited by director Tim Riley. The occasional bit of traditional, light-hearted, camp silliness onstage doesn’t go a miss, especially in the ‘summer’ – just don’t forget to wear a nice warm jumper, like I did!

Reviewed by: Zoe Hewett

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