Review: ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, Royal Exchange, Manchester, to Jan 31st

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Fabulous funky fun! The Royal Exchange’s production of the Ashman and Menken musical “Little Shop of Horrors” is entertaining and spectacular.

Many will already know the plot. Shy Seymour (Gunnar Cauthery) secretly loves his co-worker Audrey (Kelly Price). They work in the flower shop of Mr Mushnik (Sevan Stephan), which is on Skid Row.

'Little Shop of Horrors' at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

'Little Shop of Horrors' at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Audrey is going out with her abusive boyfriend Orin Scrivello DDS (Ako Mitchell) and then Seymour discovers a blood-eating plant he calls Audrey 2 and which will change everyone’s life.

The action is accompanied by a wonderful Motown-type chorus, Ellena Vincent, Ibinabo Jack and Joelle Moses. If you know the story, you might be wondering how director Derek Bond would create the voracious plant in a theatre in the round. Don’t worry ... it is magnificently sinuous and malevolent, cleverly manipulated by puppeteers Nuno Silva (who also voices Audrey 2) and James Charlton and C.J. Johnson.

There isn’t a weak link anywhere. The singing is great, the action and macabre humour effective and the design (James Perkins) is amazing.

No wonder the cast and musicians got a vociferous standing ovation at the end! I should probably give a PG warning for younger children, but older kids will love it.

If you want a bit of a change from the usual Christmas stuff, this is for you, but hurry as I think it is selling out fast. It is wonderful to watch the Royal Exchange in action with all whistles and bells!

On a personal note, I would like to wish my Clitheroe dentist a happy Christmas. He is nothing like Orin Scrivello, thank goodness! And if you want to understand what I mean, you will just have to go and see “Little Shop of Horrors”.