I’m literally just back from tonight’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors, where the curtain fell only ten minutes ago at my local pub (and with dedicated performance space), The King’s Arms in Salford.
Something I need to say straight up – there are NOT ENOUGH WORDS in the English language to let me convey just how much that I would rave about this production, were I physically able to. Possibly THE BEST piece of fringe theatre that I’ve seen, and definitely my favourite of all the productions of one of my favourite musicals, including those previously reviewed in the West End and beyond.
The Cast are absolutely stunning. I don’t want to call a single person out, as they were all super-talented, and absolutely sold their roles to the audience. By gosh, do they sing for their/Audrey II’s supper!
Duncan Burt – Seymour
Laura Harrison – Audrey
Richard Sails – Mr. Mushnik
David Grant – Orin/Voice of Audrey II
Francesca Swarbrick – Ronette
Paida Noel - Crystal
Christina Meehan – Chiffon
Oliver Yank – Ensemble
The puppeteer for Audrey II was a change that I don’t currently have documented – but it was a VERY hawt chap who got an embarrassingly audible ‘ooof!’ from me when he came out from around the back, haha!! (Edit: found it, puppeteer and understudy, Jack Bradley!)
James Baker (the newly installed Artistic Director for the theatre, and who has big plans for the future of the space) has directed a fantastic production, with many well-considered elements, from the use of the performance space, through to how the characters at times interacted with a captivated audience. All of the choices made for Little Shop of Horrors were bang on the money, in my opinion, and I couldn’t have done a better job myself, if I dare say so – that’s how perfect that it was for me.
The band deserve more than a passing mention – under the musical direction of Austin Fitzsimmons, I felt they really filled the venue with sound, harmonised very well with the performers, and provided a nice full sound that sounded both professional and well rehearsed.
At several points, dare I say that I could be seen tapping along and mouthing the words, and, as the production is effectively ‘in the round’, it made for an enhanced experience to see the captivation on the faces of the other members of the audience opposite (and a few sniffles at the end!) – so I can, hand on my heart, say that this review likely doesn’t just represent the view of a super-fan, but has taken the audience temperature as a whole.
Little Shop of Horrors has been my first foray in to professional fringe theatre in Manchester, and, thanks to this production, I feel far more likely to take in fringe productions on the basis of my experience tonight.
A fantastic production, and a nice performance space (helped by the fact that interval drinks cost under £7 a round – as a theatre person, and a gin-lover, trust me when I say that this was staggering value considering that there was a captive theatre audience, ha!) – I can but only urge you with every fibre of my being to go and see this production!
Little Shop of Horrors, produced by Suzanne Linford, for Assembled Junk Productions, plays at The King’s Arms Theatre, Salford on the following dates:
EVENING PERFORMANCES - 7:30pm
6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th,13th,14th,15th, 17th 18th,19th,20th, 21st,22nd December
MATINEE PERFORMANCES - 2:30pm
7th, 8th, 14th,15th,21st,22nd December
£12 (£10 Concessions)
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The production runs for two hours, inclusive of a 20 minute interval.