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Little Shop Of Horrors

Published by: Quentin Fox on 10th Aug 2018 | View all blogs by Quentin Fox


By Quentin Fox

One of the pleasures of holding an acorn is imagining what a mighty oak it could grow into. Likewise, one of the pleasures of beholding the Stage Experience production of Little Shop of Horrors is seeing hugely talented youngsters who will, without doubt, turn into the stars of the future.

Milton Keynes Theatre teamed up with Vivo D’Arte, the theatre arts training organisation, to offer 10-to-25 year olds a chance to live their passion in bright and beautifully crafted run of the 1982 horror comedy rock musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. With a live professional orchestra, terrific costumes and man-eating plants to die for, it’s a family-friendly treat for the summer holidays. Is it a bloody romance or a sweet-natured guignol? Doesn’t really matter, as it satisfies in the way that a curry acquires a whole different flavour when it’s served with half-rice and half-chips.

At the heart of the tale is the lovelorn Seymour Krelborn, a shy flower-shop assistant who rears a man-eating alien plant in the hope of impressing his colleague, Audrey, a brassy, but good-hearted, sweet-natured gal in thrall to a sadistic dentist, Orin.  As the plant, Audrey 2, grows, its appetite grows and the cast shrinks. Ultimately it’s not case of will the boy get the girl, but will the plant get them both?

Little Shop of Horrors has always been a firm fave of school productions and amateur groups because of its relatively small cast; in this production you get the deluxe version with an massive ensemble and dance crew pinging off the proscenium. There are more drunks around Mr Mushnik’s Skid Row florists than a Friday stag in Prague; the number of painters and decorators in the Closed For Renovation number means the job could be done in 14 seconds flat: and if the song The Meek Shall Inherit had any legal validity it would probably work out at 7p per person. The energy coming off these set pieces is phenomenal.

Caitlyn Allen excels as Audrey – funny and fragile-tough and with a voice sprinkled with stardust. She’s the real deal and a dead cert for her name in lights in the not too-distant future. Her rendition of Somewhere That’s Green is has a poignancy that even experienced pros find hard to capture. Terrific to are Alfie Glasser as Seymour and Luke Canavan as Mr Mushnik; the former for his emotional energy and the latter for his ability to move like a middle-aged man – in this context that’s high praise for a 21-year old.

All the young actors and dancers deserve the highest praise. Go along and feed their ambition – but don’t feed the plants!

Plays Milton Keynes until August 12

Box Office 0844 871 7652


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