Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Little Shop of Horrors is a classic

At the Torch

Little Shop of Horrors , Torch Theatre Company , October 26, 2001
The Theatre’s first production of the season, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, is a classic: - classic rock and dance numbers, classic comedy; classic satire; and classic story-telling on a Faustian theme, with the devil incarnate in a little house plant.

Darkly comic, the cult musical is set in downtown New York in the late 60s.

Designer Sean Crowley’s set works perfectly, the grimy pavements are littered by down and outs, the brown stone tenements inhabited by the savvy kids on the block Chiffon (Karin Diamond), Crystal (Jill Draper) and Ronnette (Nina Kristofferson).

Wise cracking, singing, dancing, the exuberant trio’s Da Doo number epitomises their take on backing groups.

Inside Mushnik’s dusty Skid Row florists are staff as stunted and as withered as the flowers they don’t sell – the stooped and shabby Mr Mushnik (Dudley Rogers); nerdy Seymour (Christian Patterson), and the beautiful, blonde Audrey (Kyra Williams) the girl whose past means she can’t set her sights any higher than her bullying, biker boyfriend Orin Scrivello.

All three harbour dreams of escaping their drab existence. Seymour makes a pact with a mystery plant, and the dream comes true, but at a price.

True to the Faustian tradition, the bargain devours (literally) them all.

Starters come courtesy of Orin. Garry Lake’s performance as Orin, the gum-chewing, demonic dentist, high on laughing gas, is wonderfully camp.

Open wide takes on a new meaning in one of the funniest scenes, when Christian, as the ineffectual Seymour, decides he must do away with his love rival.

Orin and Seymour tussle verbally and physically in the blood spattered dental surgery.

Brilliance is also in this show’s detail; the Mushnik and Son tango between Dudley and Christian; Kyra singing of Audrey’s modest ambitions in the number ‘Somewhere that’s Green’. Kyra invests Audrey with such fragility and sensitivity that it appears her thin bones must break as she teeters across stage on dangerously high heels.
Audrey’s namesake, Audrey II enjoys a main course and afters, as her imperious ‘Feed Me’ rings out across the auditorium. Shaking with rage and consuming hunger, the carnivorous monster is not to be denied. Garry Lake gives voice to Audrey II. Puppeteer Rachael Canning, making her professional debut at The Torch, manipulates Audrey II’s menacing tentacles, and ever-growing foliage.

Live music from the keyboard of Musical Director James Williams; James Crisp (bass); Jerome Davies (guitar); Zara Nunn (keyboard); and Magi Rodriguez (drums) underscores a smash hit show.

Once again, James, Sean, and director Peter Doran’s successful partnership creates a unique theatrical experience that brings the quality of a West End hit to West Wales.

If you haven’t already visited The Torch, then don’t miss this sensational musical, right here on your doorstep. Bring granny and the kids, except the tinies, as this is a spoof rock horror show with attitude. Little Shop of Horrors runs until 3 November

Reviewed by: Vivien Stoddart

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