Hands up those who like a good musical.
Were a strange lot, arent we, prone to the most embarrassing outbursts, like singing Suddenly Seymour in a crowded elevator a little too loudly
But such is the feel of the catchy music from Little Shop of Horrors , you just cant help yourself. Quite frankly, if its great music youre after then Little Shop of Horrors has it in spades. From the inspiring Downtown and dreamy Somewhere thats Green to the convincing Grow for Me and rocky Feed Me, this blackest of comedies has it all.
Those who remember the hugely successful 1986 film adaptation will feel very much at home in this stage version by Harvest Rain, but even those unfamiliar with this musical will almost certainly be familiar with some of the other work of the team behind it. Composer Alan Menkin and lyricist Howard Ashman later went on to compose for many Disney classics, so Little Shop of Horrors is no one-hit wonder.
When entering the auditorium in Sydney Street, I was struck by the amount of work required to bring Little Shop of Horrors to stage. Besides constructing three versions of the plant in question, so that it could grow from hand puppet size to seven feet tall, designer Josh McIntosh and his team hand- painted every brick used in the design. The scope of the project is quite startling, and must have been the cause of many sore fingers and hands, but the effect works wonders, transporting you to 1950s New York.
As for the cast, the singing and dancing was infectious. They were having fun up there, and as audience we couldnt help but have fun ourselves, with some members singing along to their favourite parts. I particularly enjoyed Justin Geange, the voice of the plant, and Jason Chatfield the puppeteer who together brought the foam-and-weed mat alive. I was just about to call Steve Irwin at Australia Zoo, when Jason popped out for a bow at the end, and you think crikey, it must have been hot in there!
In what was otherwise a slick production, an uneven audio mix at times made the singing difficult to hear and understand, especially when you wanted to hear the solos over the band or when singing in ensemble. However I expect this will be ironed out over the run.
Still, the efforts of all concerned were well received with solid applause after every musical number and even a few wolf whistles from the Horrors fans. Personally, I had a great time, and if youre looking for a toe-tappin, hand-clappin, finger-clickin fun night out, I highly recommend Harvest Rains production of Little Shop of Horrors . Just be warned, keep your wits about you or you might find yourself singing Feed me, Seymour, Feed me all night long a little too loud come Monday morning when youre standing in the office kitchen waiting for your tea to brew.
Directed by Tim OConnor
Playing until 19th March 2005: Wed-Sat 7:30pm, Saturday matinees 2pm
Running Time: 2 hours including interval