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Review: Little Shop of Horrors @ Lichfield Garrick

I saw Lichfield Youth Theatre’s 2008 production of Les Miserables once by accident and a second time on purpose. It still ranks as one the best things I’ve ever seen on a stage, so it was a no-brainer to say yes when asked to review their Little Shop of Horrors. Am I glad I did. If you’re short of time don’t bother to read any more. Just go and see it. If you’ve got a minute, here’s why it’s so great.

First – Oliver Rowe’s direction and Jemma Tiso’s choeography of Menken and Ashman’s story, a brilliant send-up of 50’s cold war paranoia films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and gritty low-life dramas such as On The Waterfront. Next, the music. Until I had time to read the programme I thought this was cleverly pre-recorded stuff, but no. Although you sadly can’t see them, there’s a full on-stage band led stylishly by James Keefe.

From costumes to lighting, set to staging this show is superior to many national productions currently doing the rounds. There are literally dozens of people who’ve contributed to it, in costumes, lighting, make-up, you name it, publicity, front of house, and they all deserve a mention, but space is short. The acting tuition, the chorus, the marshalling of crowd scenes – I could go on, but sadly there’s only space to mention the principals.

16 year old Chris Buckle as discoverer, feeder and ultimately slave of monster pot-plant Audrey II nails to perfection the brutalised, nerdy Seymour. Jon Barakat at 19 already a veteran player exudes cynical authority as his liberty-taking employer Mr. Mushnik, while Matthew Browne, 17, nearly stopped the show with dentist Orin’s oral hygiene-related death which had me laughing out loud. The voice of Robert Glynn as the voice of Audrey II (remember Edges?) mustn’t be missed out.

But there’s always a star even amongst other stars and here it’s 14 year old (really?) Lucy Charnock as the sassy but vulnerable Audrey. The programme reports Lucy intends to pursue a career in musical theatre. I have news – she already is.

Oh, and of course, the puppets. I won’t spoil it for you, but super-plant Audrey II alone is worthy of a West End show. I was in tears by the second number, and laughed my head off in Act Two. So much talent!

If you feel the need for feel-good, book now.

Little Shop Of Horrors runs in the Garrick Main House until Saturday (September 29). For tickets phone the box office on 01543 412121 or go online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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1 Comment

  1. Margaret Chalcraft

    10th October, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I flew over from Spain to see this so professional show. Lucy Charnock was excellent in all of her performance, and is definitely a little star in the making.

    All of the cast were a credit to the producers.