The smallish city of Adelaide is subject to horticultural invasion this week, in the guise of the spiky event being housed in Her Majesty’s Theatre, (Grote Street, CBD); The award-winning production team that created Sweet Charity, brings us Little Shop of Horrors. It seems like everyone who produces or directs Little Shop has some sort of historical connection with the film version (1986), and producer Lisa Campbell and Director Dean Bryant are no exception. It is a somewhat unconventional musical, but it’s one of my favourites – I must admit I find it hard to think of Seymour without picturing Rick Moranis (from the 1986 movie). On Friday night Brent Hill showed us that he and co-star Esther Hannaford, have taken ownership of the roles of Seymour and Audrey. Both give a uniquely hilarious, yet tender portrayal of the hapless Seymour and hopelessly naïve Audrey.
This is a rather stylistic production. The set was simplistic and functional, designed to present a contemporary and engaging production. The costumes are well designed and fun; I don’t want to give too much away, but I felt like the injection of colour came a little late for me; (I love razzle dazzle!)
Of course, everything paled next to the phenomenal Audrey II! The puppet who is the star of the story, is brilliantly animated and entirely believable; voiced by Brent Hill (yes, the guy who plays Seymour), in an exhausting, engaging and side-splitting double act!
Esther Hannaford gives us a likeable Audrey. We have great empathy for her and a little exasperation! She wears some fabulous outfits and her hair is every pin up girl’s dream.
The Doo-wop girls, Angelique Cassimatis, Josie Lane, Chloe Zuel, thrilled us with their attitude and harmonies and one cannot close without mentioning Orin Shrivello DDS, the Dentist. One of the funniest musical numbers ever created in my opinion and the only link to dentists that I can honestly say I enjoy, played by the wonderfully energetic Scott Johnson.
This is an engaging musical with a fun plot and brilliant songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (who later went on to work with Disney!). The entire cast and crew have obviously worked incredibly hard at creating a brash production filled with strange and interesting characters and the result delighted the audience who showed their appreciation with a well deserved standing ovation. Whether your thumbs are green or not, do not miss this season’s sell out hybrid musical!
Little Shop of Horror is now playing in Adelaide, before moving to Melbourne in May.
Photo credit: Jeff Busby