WBHS’s production of the show is absolutely out of the top drawer. (Review by Keith Millar)
The Westville Boys High School’s Drama Department has once again nailed it. This time with their vibrant production of the hit horror comedy rock musical from the 1980’s, Little Shop of Horrors.
Under the direction of the inimitable Luke Holder, Director of Cultural Affairs at the school, the cast deliver a performance that fizzles with energy, enthusiasm and ebullience.
While on the subject of the cast – it must be mentioned that to allow for an increased number of learners to be involved, Holder has double-cast the production, with the two groups alternating each night. This in itself is some achievement. Almost like staging two productions at the same time.
Holder says that there is in no way that this is a 1st team and 2nd team situation, but that both groups are equally competent. Well, while the cast we saw last night was the younger of the two, the alternative will have to pull up their socks to match the royal entertainment that we were treated to.
Little Shop of Horrors is the story of Seymour, a somewhat nerdy assistant in a florist shop in the down and out area of Skid Row. He discovers a rather bizarre carnivorous plant which he believes may provide a boost to the failing business and attract more customers. He names the plant Audrey ll after his colleague who he has a massive crush on.
He feeds the plant his own blood and it grows to a massive size which attracts fame and fortune to the store and to Seymour himself.
However, the plant becomes ever more demanding until Seymour realises he must take drastic steps to put an end to its gory needs.
Luke Holder takes on the responsibility of not only directing the production but also serving as its Musical Director and Designer. He is on stage for the duration of the show playing piano in the very good nine-piece band which provides an excellent musical backing for the production.
He has, as usual, surrounded himself with a very professional technical team which includes choreographer Fiona Barnes, technical director, Megan Levy and costume design by Tracy Campbell.
The magnificent Plant Puppets come from KickstArt Productions and were designed and manufactured by Greg King. It is good to see this world-class production company making their expertise available to school productions.
With the double-casting situation, it is perhaps a bit unfair to single out individual performances for praise while a whole alternative cast doesn’t get a look in. However, there were a few performances which cannot go by without mention.
The stand-out for me was Murray Clark as the evil motor bike riding dentist. What a wonderful performer this young man has been for WBHS over the years. He has all the moves and in this role oozes slimy charm and malevolence. A very mature and accomplished performance.
The two leads, Cameron Parle as Seymour, and Keryn Parker as Audrey (the girlfriend, not the plant), put in charming and animated performances and have very pleasing singing voices.
Pierre Parrott as Mushnik, the owner of the plant store (in both casts), as usual put in a strong and convincing performance and made the most of his part.
The Ronnetes, a sort of Greek Chorus, who narrate much of the story in song and dance, and in this production, are considerably increased in number – again to allow for the involvement of more pupils, were full of colourful and energetic exuberance. A good effort by all of them.
I still have not mentioned the three Winos, or the puppeteers or the wonderful voice of Audrey ll (Daanyaal Ally). Suffice it to say that they were all wonderful. In fact, there was not a poor performance to be seen on the night.
Little Shop of Horrors is a very enjoyable, rather black comedy musical. WBHS’s production of the show is absolutely out of the top drawer. It runs in the Roy Cousins Theatre at the school until May 21. As I have said before WBHS are setting the standard for school productions. Don’t miss it!
For more information, or to book, email [email protected] – Keith Millar