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Little Shop of Horrors

Published by: Kirstie Niland on 16th Dec 2014 | View all blogs by Kirstie Niland

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Until Saturday January 31st 2015

Director Derek Bond promised us “a gory, scary, glitter and sequins treat” and he delivers exactly that and more.

Little Shop of Horrors at Manchester’s Royal Exchange is a masterpiece of superb performance and puppetry starring an outstanding cast. A macabre yet feel-good, foot-tapping show that has you grinning right from the start.

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The cult rock musical, featuring Alan Menken’s mixture of 50s rock ‘n’ roll and 60s girl group harmony with lashings of R&B and soul, continues to prove as perennial as the carnivorous Audrey II herself.

The Exchange arena is the perfect platform for us to be engulfed in both the story and the “strange and interesting” plant that becomes a monster.

Nuno Silva is genius as the voice and puppeteer of Audrey II. He sounds and looks a little like the hapless Ross in Friends, so there is enough vulnerability to make Seymour, played endearingly by Gunnar Cauthery, give in to the “Feed Me” pleas for blood...and more!

He and his fellow puppeteers, CJ Johnson and James Charlton from the ensemble, operate Audrey II with such expertise and expression that they virtually merge into her tentacles, making her incredibly lifelike.

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The costumes, make-up and performance are so faultless that at times you feel like you’re watching a soft focus all-American movie, and you are treated to close-ups of all the cast as they change positions in the round throughout.

We were blown away by the powerful singing, from the very beginning when the girl group commentators Crystal (Ellena Vincent) Chiffon (Ibinabo Jack) and Ronnette (Joelle Moss) burst into Little Shop of Horrors in an explosion of gold sequin.

Gunnar Cauthery is brilliantly funny and touching in his duets as the geeky Seymour. His flower shop colleague and crush Audrey (Kelly Price) falls convincingly in love with him during Suddenly Seymour, when she realises he can see the real girl “beneath the bruises and the handcuffs.”  Meanwhile his match with the marvellous Sévan Stephan as Mr Mushnik is pure Jewish comedy, as they waltz around the stage as well as the issue of him adopting the increasingly famous Seymour as his son.

More brilliance comes from Ako Mitchell, aka Orin Scrivello DDS the sadistic dentist - bullying boyfriend and self-proclaimed “leader of the plaque” who makes death by laughing gas extra funny.

Kelly Price is funny and heart-warming as the down-trodden Skid Row girl, whose yearning for happiness as a perfect pie-baking housewife almost comes true. Until she utters the immortal words: “something’s very wrong here.”

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The finale is a spectacular surprise and a befitting end to a show that seriously rocks. In fact tickets sales and standing ovations have been so plentiful that the run has been extended until January 31st .

Book your tickets now, before they get up snapped up quicker than Audrey II can shout Feed Me!

Photographs by Jonathan Keenan

Ticket Prices: Standard tickets from £15 (Concessions Available). Contact the Box Office: 0161 833 9833, or book online at: www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline  www.royalexchange.co.uk

Comments

2 Comments

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks, Kirstie. This sounds like an excellent production of an excellent musical.
  • Kirstie Niland
    by Kirstie Niland 3 years ago
    It was a real pleasure reviewing this! Such a treat and the Christmas markets are right outside so well worth a day out to this and Little Shop afterwards.
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