"Little Shop Of Horrors" by Creatio
Nottingham Arts Theatre.
This is the first production from the recently formed Creatio. Recently formed they may be but there is a great wealth of talent and experience behind the name.
"Horrors" is the story of Seymour who works for Mr Mushnik in his florist in Downtown Skid Row with assistant Audrey. just as Mr Mushnik is about to throw in the towel due to bad business, or no business to be precise, Seymour introduces a new plant he has dubbed Audrey 2, which has particularly gruesome dietary needs.
Seymour, the hapless geek of an assistant is played by a newcomer to me, Tom Stanley, who has ventured to Nottingham from his usual thespian stomping ground of Derby. I'm so glad he did because he was perfectly cast in the role. The gentle comedy came naturally to him and what a great voice he has, showcasing the light and shade of the role as well as his vocal talents.
Audrey, the dizzy punchbag of a girlfriend to Orin, the sadistic dentist, added a fizz to the proceedings. Great fun to watch and another strong vocal performance, Once more beautifully highlighting the light and shade of the vocal spectrum of the soundtrack. Katy Freeman showed sensitivity and optimism with songs like "Somewhere that's Green" and her duet with Seymour on "Suddenly Seymour", just two favourites from a wonderfully memorable soundtrack.
What can i say about Adam Guest who played Mr Mushnik that i haven't said in the past. Adam really makes every role his own. Not so long ago he was Manuel in Encore's production of "Fawlty Towers" and now he's mastered the Jewish sense of humour. i loved the little Jewish mutterings when cursing Seymour, which added just that little bit extra comedy to Mushnik's character. Great comic timing and a great voice to boot. Adam is a well seasoned performer who is a boon to any show he appears in.
Orin, the dentist, was played with enormous sadistic glee by Jack Readyhoof, a role I can only imagine he loved playing from the way it came over on stage. Loved the song "Dentist" and the sado-erotic spin he gave it.
Audrey 2, aka the plant, is a difficult role to undertake. Even though you don't see the actor working this giant puppet, there's a lot at stake here for the production as Milly Shawcross, who operated the giant man-eating creature has to get her timing spot on to make it look like the voice is coming from the plant, and she did a cracking job.
The voice of Audrey 2 was provided by Phil Stanley. A wonderful deep, soulful, chocolate-dripping big old voice he has as well. That plant had soul oozing from it's every root and leaf which really got the sap rising in a way that baby bio wouldn't be able to match.
The 60's chanteuses created a lovely retro musical feeling from the doo wop age. Georgie Bond, Laura Jones, Aine O'Neill-Mason, Rebekah Fearn, Eleanore Mallinson and Laura Jacobs are the lovely ladies with the voices, the attitude and the great 60's outfits.
Jo Walker, Ray Elliott, Josh Birchall, Alex Richardson, Laura Tracey, Kheenan Jones and Andrew Bould create the ensemble. Kheenan also donning the assistant director hat and Andrew doubling as stage manager.
Directed by the incredibly hard-working Matt Powell, who also made appearances on the screen in various roles throughout the evening has done it again, another success under his belt. Well deserved as well because he really does live and breath theatre and his passion for the art is evident, and he still remains one of the nicest guys in amateur theatre.
Martin Lewis makes his musical directorial debut after spending several years on the stage, he takes the reins below stage. I actually thought the soundtrack was recorded to start with until i started to read the programme because the sound was practically perfect. A talent that may have lay dormant for martin has, thankfully surfaced. i hope that this will not be the last venture into musical direction for Martin.
Charlotte Richardson was the lady behind the choreography. Not a foot was put wrong with the classic 60's style moves. Brilliant job.
Great set, brilliant fun costumes and a nice use of projected images and films added that little extra to the production. Crystal clarity of sound and great lighting by the Nottingham Arts Theatre technical crew.
Matt Powell has surrounded himself with some of the best crew and actors for this show and that really shows in what is nothing less that a professional show.
This is, as I said, Creatio's debut and knowing what is to come I can only say that I am very excited about what is coming for the rest of this year. Matt has set his bar very high but I have every faith that the bar is going to be met and pushed even higher with his next two productions.
"Little Shop Of Horrors" ends on Saturday 7 May 2016 at the Nottingham Arts Theatre, so don't leaf it to the last minute, stem that urge and beat a root to the theatre for a real treat this weekend, but don't forget.......Don't feed the plants!!!