Think Broadway Musical, old Horror Movie, throw in some satirical humour, a Greek chorus with a touch of Motown and a carnivorous plant that craves blood and you have Phoenix Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors.
We all remember the 1986 movie starring Rick Moranis as Seymour the down and out, Skid Row florist assistant, Ellen Greene as his love interest Audrey and Steve Martin as Orin the crazy dentist but there was also a B grade cult classic movie of the same name made in 1960 starring a young Jack Nicholson, which the stage musical was based on. The musical first opened off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre on July 27, 1982. When it closed on November 1, 1987, after 2,209 performances, it was the third-longest running musical and the highest-grossing production in off-Broadway history!
Directed by Renee Maloney and Musically Directed by Katie Packer, Phoenix’s ‘Little Shop’ promises to be a very entertaining show with a top cast headed by Tyler Hess (Seymour) and Lucia Craven (Audrey) and featuring Richard Perdriau as mean shop owner, Mr Mushnik.
For Craven it is her all time favourite show, “Audrey is a character I grew up with, singing along to her songs and saying her lines. I've always wanted to play Audrey at least once in my life. My best thing about playing Audrey is her Brooklyn accent as it really transforms me into her and it is a fundamental trait that makes the character authentic and fun. Also her costumes, being able to wear tight, sexy clothes that are only made in animal print allows me to have a lot of fun while wearing them!”
Hess has always been a fan of Rick Moranis’s work. (In particular the 80’s Film Version of ‘Little Shop’) “Attempting to emulate his likeable and modest portrayal of the character has definitely been a focus for me. The character Seymour is an “actors” role but also requires good vocals and a hell of a lot of energy. My focus has been to take on all of these elements whilst straying from the cliché and nerdy cardboard cut-out Seymour. Little Shop of Horrors is a quirky production and the roles of Seymour and Audrey are staple characters for avid performers. Playing opposite Lucia has also been a definite highlight for me, as well is the enthusiastic and fun cast.”
According to Craven, rehearsals are going very well. “Everyone’s been extremely organised which has allowed everyone to feel very prepared therefore really confident about the show and how successful it’s going to be! There have been countless amounts of funny moments however they are personal jokes that only the hilarious cast and crew of Little Shop of Horrors can understand!
"Phoenix has really thought about set design and its relationship to the show as whole. I feel it separates it from any other production or the film as the set is very versatile and cleverly transforms into suitable and exciting locations in fun and innovative ways. The way the show is Choreographed also sets Phoenix's production apart from any other as Renee Maloney, the Director and Choreographer, has creatively constructed the show through themed choreography and maintained it throughout the show also through the way she has blocked the characters to make it overall fun, energetic, dramatic and hilarious.”
There have been some memorable moments during rehearsals for Hess!” It is always fun playing a role that relies on puppetry” he says “and it has certainly been interesting during rehearsal, interacting with paint cans, socks, and whatever else happened to be lying around the rehearsal hall whilst the real ‘Audrey II’ was being created. I also split my pants…right down the back and front side. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen on stage… it’s a family show.” This is his second production working with Phoenix over the past few years, and he says “it is always a pleasure to be involved with such a humble company.”
Productions staged in the Doncaster Playhouse always require a unique touch that although a smaller scale show, the team has capitalized on a range of different theatre techniques and technologies that will surely entertain. It's amazing what can be achieved in a small space!
The real 'star' of the show ‘Audrey II’(featuring the voice of David Barclay) has been designed and constructed by set designer Brenton Van Vliet so no doubt will be a spectacular highlight of the show. Add to that a young and talented cast, a snappy libretto and catchy score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and it makes Phoenix’s Little Shop of Horrors a not to be missed show.
Sounds like heaps of fun, I can’t wait to see it!
Little Shop of Horrors opens this Friday the 20th May at The Doncaster Playhouse and runs through until the 28th May.
Don’t miss out, book your tickets now on 90125897 or online http://www.trybooking.com/LLT