Joshua Randall’s production of the kitsch, darkly comic musical Little Shop of Horrors gave of the overwhelming impression of being under rehearsed. The cast clearly had the potential to produce an excellent show but were let down by technical hitches. The sound especially caused difficulties; the orchestra frequently drowned out the singers and the microphones failed to amplify the soloists or indeed provide the right levels for the harmonies, resulting in many lines being completely lost. The set was flimsy and caused problems as part of it fell down at the beginning of the second act.
What a shame, as the production was exceptionally well cast with a selection of very talented singers; in particular Rhiannon Drake, Freya Smith and Sarah Anson as the three ‘dream girls’. Indeed the singing in general was of a superb quality, shown in particular through the competently approached harmonies in some of the trickier chorus numbers, like ‘Downtown’. The supporting cast carried the production; particularly memorable was Jarred Wiehe’s ‘Mushnik’ in his original, comically flamboyant, characterisation of the aggressive florist.
A large plant was the best part of the set design and certainly deserves commendation. This effectively-designed contraption was controlled and vocalised by Jack Haynes and Lydia Lewis, who delivered their lines in perfect unison while working the plant-puppet-esque contraption at the same time. It provided a great central focus for the action.
The production is fun but shabby around the edges. Once minor errors, such as line slips and technical hitches, are ironed out, it has the potential to be very good and will hopefully improve as the run progresses.
Pay a visit to the Little Shop of Horrors (Pembroke College) any time before the 27th February, as long as that time is 7.30pm