Little Shop of Horrors Review | Palace Theatre | Manchester
Selladoor Theatre Company have revived the 1986 cult classic, Little Shop of Horrors in a faithful rendition of the Motown-flavoured musical. The original low-budget B-movie plays on peoples’ paranoia and fear of the unknown. Themes that remain relevant in 2016; a year defined by Brexit and Donald Trump’s eerie focus on immigration.
The Palace theatre houses the sci-fi/comedy, portraying the down and out New York street, Skid Row. The story sees shy shop assistant Seymour Kreloyne modernise the failing Muskin’s florist after discovering a mysterious man-eating plant. While tending to his new plant, Audrey 2 (named after his co-working crush) Seymour sees his popularity rise alongside his ever-growing carnivorous plant.
Selladoor Theatre Company is the troupe behind Avenue Q; an adult Sesame Street-like show with a precedent for eye-catching props, strong vocal performers and catchy crowd pleasing tracks. Similarly, the cast of Horrors fly through high-pitched, fast-paced songs with ease.
There are fantastic vocal performances by Stephinie Clift, who consumes the goofy and humble Audrey character comfortably. Sam Lupton as Seymour is a multitasker of puppetry and vocals, with a performance that appears to be as difficult as patting your head and rubbing your stomach. While Rhydian as Orin et al was the standout performer whose comical costumes and personas put the production in traditional B-movie mode.
With the Audrey 2 puppet controlled by Josh Wilmott and voiced by Neil Nicholas, the expectations of another runaway success of Avenue Q should be on Sell a Doors steps. Unfortunately, while an ever-growing man-eating, alien plant is visually impressive and exciting to watch, the music arrangement was often muddled and difficult to decipher. For a musical containing twenty-one songs, it was disappointing that any performance covered by more than one person was indecipherable and saved only by its likable cast and striking visuals.