Little Shop of Horrors
Production No. 388
For those not familiar with the show, it is about Seymour who spends day in day out slaving away in Mr Musnik’s florists, mooning over the glamorous and ditzy assistant Audrey, and dreaming of a way out of downtown Skid Row. Until one day, during a total eclipse of the sun, Seymour stumbles upon a strange and exotic new plant that could change his luck forever. An overnight success, the newly christened Audrey II offers Seymour a ticket out of Skid Row and perhaps even a chance of a date with the real life Audrey - but this isn't an ordinary shrub!
I have to say that staging a musical such as Little Shop of Horrors has taken a few people out of their comfort zone, and that includes the director. Never before have I had to worry about hiring a Musical Director (Bedford-based Rob Brand), or acquiring a choreographer (the lovely Samantha Pollitt who is putting the cast through their paces, as well as taking the part of Chiffon).
At the time of writing there are still two months before show time so it's still at the setting stage. But after the usual hiccups that come with putting on such a big production, I can actually say I'm starting to relax and "enjoy" this experience. But that is all down to the superb cast and crew who have come forward to share my vision.
Many of these talented people are new to Masque Theatre and I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to them. They include Alex Taylor (Seymour) and Nici Smithers (Audrey). Definitely not to new Masque are the all-singing Richard Jordan (last seen in Scaramouche Jones) as Orin and the all-dancing Fraser Haines (last seen in Peter Pan) as Mushnik. Completing this ensemble piece are Rachel Bedford, Jay Snedker, Jennifer Saunders, Jame Bignell, Jeremy Smith and Peter Thorn. I am also delighted to have Weekes Bapiste, who is supporting me in the Stage Manager role.
Featuring the music from the 1986 film starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin, I hope you will come and see this exciting show in celebration of Masque's 80th year. And remember...don't feed the plant!
Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
Page last updated: 19/07/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012
Based on the film by Roger Corman. Screenplay by Charles Griffith.
Originally produced at the Orpheum Theatre, New York City, by the WPA Theatre, David Geffen, Cameron Mackintosh and the Shubert Organisation
Alex Taylor as Seymour and Nicola Smithers as Audrey. Photo by James Wilson of www.redrex.co.uk
Tue 5 - Sat 9 June 2012 at 7.30pm
Thomas Becket School, Becket Way, Kettering Road North, Northampton
Cast & Crew
Chiffon Samantha Pollitt
Crystal Rachel Bedford
Ronnette Jay Snedker
Mushnik Fraser Haines
Audrey Nicola Smithers
Seymour Alex Taylor
Orin Richard Jordan
Audrey II Dan Pothecary
Ensemble Peter Thorn, Jame Bignell, Jeremy Smith, Laura Horne, Katie Bunting
Keyboards Rob Brand, Tim Brewster
Drums Michael Edge
Guitar Chris Rees-Bidder
Bass David Kendall
Director Mindy Robinson
Musical Director Rob Brand
Stage Manager Weekes Baptiste
Assistant Stage Managers Victoria Curtis, Nic Bampkins, Natalie Kopecky
Sound Katie Turtill
Lighting Charlotte Burton
Costumes Kristy O'Connor, Pam Mann, The Company
Continuity Bernie Wood, Karen Thomas
Print & Programme Design Tamsyn Payne
Box Office The Works
Rehearsal Photography Jay Snedker
Front of House Masque Theatre members
Two words that spring to mind when I think of Masque's production of Little Shop of Horrors - "Perfectly Cast". I have never seen an amateur show where every character was superbly and accurately performed. I didn't think I was a fan of the show, but having seen this version, I can honestly say, I am a big, big fan now. Mindy Robinson's sensitive and clever direction made this worthy of anything I have seen in the professional theatre.
I have only one bone to pick - and that's that my friends Richard and Fraser have been insisting to me that for over 10 years that they cannot sing - and they damn well can! You devils - you were fantastic. That was some note you held Fraser!
Nicola Smithers as Audrey was beautiful, funny, and endearing and she had me reaching for the Kleenex (and not because I had a cold - which I genuinely did!) When she sang “Somewhere that's green" her voice was as clear as a bell and she was heartbreaking. Her amour, geeky Seymour, was terrifically played and perfectly pitched by Alex Taylor who I had not seen before. He was an absolute joy, extremely funny and the chemistry between them was believable and wonderful to see.
Mention must be made of the excellent costumes, all of them immaculate and fitting well. The make-up was stunning; all the ladies looked so beautiful and the shop setting was terrific.
As for the plant, Audrey Two, well that was astonishing! It had me terrified. I am sure it was my fault it got bigger - I felt guilty for having three of Mindy's delicious cupcakes, so I gave it one during the interval! The two strong fellas operating Audrey Two were superb. Dan Pothecary and Jeremy Smith did a sterling job, and though unseen, the show could not have happened without them.
Richard Jordan as the Dentist - well what can I say? Where to start! It was part Elvis, part William Shatner, part The Joker from Batman: just an absolute joy and Richard was surely enjoying himself, despite saying he was out of his comfort zone. I also enjoyed his cameo performances at the end - a mixture of Jimmy Saville meets Dick Emery. What a versatile actor Richard is; always fascinating to watch.
Fraser Haines as Mr Mushkin the shop owner pitched it perfectly in this role. Fraser is always dependable, always gives a solid performance and showed his comic skills during a tango with Seymour. And he always gets me on the edge of my seat when he shouts - he's quite scary when he gets that glint in his eye - and I should know having been on the receiving end many a time on stage.
The three ladies, Rachel Bedford, wonderful Samantha Pollitt and Jay Snedker - giving us the narrative in excellently funny style - were terrific; what voices they had, surely worthy of West End, especially Rachel Bedford whose voice could be heard at the end of the County.
This show was spectacular. It was warm, funny, moving, rousing and a perfect way to spend a cold, wet, windy evening. Well done Mindy. All that hard work paid off splendidly. Mindy is a talented director. The Sunshine Boys in 2009 was one of the best things I have seen and Little Shop has the same class. A triumph.