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NODA Review of Little Shop of Horrors

Director – Jeremy Tustin

Musical Director – Bryan Cass

Young Gen made full use of the limited space in the Cramphorn with a largely fixed set and a folding wing stage left. Double doors stage centre provided space for Audrey II and her manipulators. A shop window and door overlooked Skid Row with its dustbins outside. Thus, the two acting areas were delineated. The set and scene changes generally worked very well despite a wayward door that would not stay shut. With the band above/behind the set a good sound was achieved and the balance between band and company generally good.

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The Girl Singers were strong, danced well and had attitude. I liked the choreography throughout; it was sharp, contemporary and well adapted to the limitations of the stage. Chorus was given plenty to do despite there being only a few opportunities in this show to appear, my favourite being The Meek Shall Inherit.

All the principals were well characterized, particularly Annabel Bond as Audrey with her breathy vulnerability and permanently defensive arm gestures. She sang beautifully and acted well; perhaps she could have been a little louder in Act 1 when it was sometimes difficult to hear the endings of the lines. However, I suspect such a technical issue will have been resolved by the second night.

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Sam Pridige was a suitably geeky Seymour and portrayed the emotional spectrum between love and anger very well. Kevin Jarvis was a good Mushnik with strong delivery and characterization, while Sam Toland as Orin Scrivello, the evil dentist (or is that tautologous?) probably has a career in sadism ahead of him, such was his credibility.

Bart Lambert, as the voice of Audrey II, was great and managed to squeeze both humour and power from his role.

Finally, Callum Crisell as all the other speaking parts, had great stage presence even when his costume occasionally failed him.I have always loved this show since I first saw it done by a youth group and so Young Gen had a headstart with a strong show choice.

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However, the direction and execution of the show was excellent and apart from a few first night teething problems (mentioned above) this production certainly lived up to expectations. Its suitability for the age group involved was good and there were no weak links.

This was a great night out – pity there were a few empty seats.

Reviewer – Stewart Adkins