REVIEW: A Shop of Horrors took up residence in Egremont

By Ken Powell

Don’t feed the plant!: The Little Shop of Horrors opens in Egremont for a week of stunning songs and performance.            Photo supplied by WTG

Don’t feed the plant!: The Little Shop of Horrors opens in Egremont for a week of stunning songs and performance. Photo supplied by WTG

DON’T feed the plant! Too late it seems as Whitehaven Theatre Group put on a production of Little Shop of Horrors at the end of April and let loose Audrey II at Egremont Market Hall.

Not an easy show to stage with the need for several hand-operated plants of various sizes (the last one is huge!) and one where good acting is needed or the comedy falls flat. I’m pleased to say the WTG succeeded very well.

In fact, they did more than very well.

On the opening night everything was on point and if there were first night jitters they weren’t obvious to the audience.

The acting and singing were spot on and the lighting and sound completely free of the slips which can often mar an amateur dramatic production.

The whole show ran as though the team had been performing it for weeks.

As usual with the WTG there were performers who I’ve come to expect to do well and there were new surprises too.

Chris Simpson, in the lead role as hopeless shop boy Seymour, gave one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard from him in a long time (despite battling illness, I’m reliably informed).

Aron Armstrong played the sadistic dentist Orin with his usual comic genius and took on several bit parts too with aplomb.

Dave Flitcroft (about whom I ranted in December for his role as the Beast in the last pantomime) was the voice of Audrey II – the flesh-eating plant from outer space – and was the perfect choice – what a voice that man has.

A new find for me (but not new to WTG) was Beth McGarry who took the female lead as Audrey. She acted well and her voice was just delicious – there wasn’t a single wobble.

And just as I thought I’d seen everything of note I was going to, I caught a glimpse of a potential star in the making near the end.

Jasmine Smith was a part of the chorus but had one small solo singing part and – boy – was it worth it.

Her moment was too short to say anything for sure but the quality was so good I hope she snags bigger roles in future productions.

Remember you read it here first.