MGA Presents Little Shop of Horrors,
**** 4 Stars
“ Suddenly Seymour faces a new generation”
37 years after its off Broadway debut and 31 since its famous movie adaption starring Rick Moranis, the smash hit black comedy musical from the Late Howard Ashman (books and lyrics) and Alan Menken (Disney Musical Legend) has been chosen by MGA as the swan song for the graduating 3rd years of the school of musical theatre and what a treat it is.
The musical is a loving homage to the 1960’s b movies conjuring a more innocent time, set in down town New York on Skid Row where the Mushnik Flower shop has hit hard times, until Seymour Krelborn (a wonderfully charming performance from Reuben Woolard) discovers a strange new plant that brings good fortune and changes lives and allows him to charm the love of his life Audrey (Grace McGill). The problem is the Plant, Audrey 2 (an R and B oozing turn from Eimear Burns) eats human blood and seeks world domination.
Little shop is an interesting choice for a large company musical as it only has 8 principal parts and one of these is usually an off-stage voice, here Director Drew Gowland deploys a 23 strong company to bring skid row to life. Along with Choreographer Murray Grant and Musical Director Simon Hanson they have made brave choices.
Given that the company is female heavy, casting Laurie Audrey-Hill as psychopathic dentist Orin Scrivello gives the production a different slant turning Audrey bisexual, it a novel idea that gives the production a modern updating. Even Mushnik traditionally a male role is play by the sublime Sophie Douglas who sells every comedy moment and displays a shrewd sense of comedy timing.
The production performed in the faded splendour of the Leith Theatre actually works for it, its like sitting in skid row watching skid row and the charm of it all flows across the audience. Grant’s choreography is sharp and well judged with the occasional nod to other musicals such as fiddler on the roof and the company commit to it fully. Simon Hanson’s small on-stage band are first class delivering modern fresh musical arrangements especially on the big songs including “Skid Row” and the powerful “Suddenly Seymour” which is given the full Broadway production treatment and it’s wonderful to watch.
As the curtain falls on a production which is clearly giving Little Shop of Horrors to a new a generation there is a truly touching moment in the bows as this graduating class each get a moment to break the fourth wall and acknowledge that for them and MGA it’s the end of the road together. The big wide world of professional musical theatre awaits them. Gowland, Grant and Hanson have sent them on there way in style and for all of them big performing futures await them.
MGA Academy of the Performing Arts Presents, Little Shop of Horrors, Leith Theatre, Run Ended.