The Lent Term production of Little Shop of Horrors was an explosively entertaining event, with outstanding characterisation, fantastic music, vibrant costumes, accomplished choreography and brilliant puppetry. Set in the run-down back streets of New York, the story concerns two plucky flower shop assistants Seymour and Audrey, played with wonderful sincerity and laudable talent by Jamie (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne) and Millie (Lower Sixth, Swift), who find fame, fortune and love when they nurture a strange looking plant. Their love is doomed however when the plant develops a taste for human flesh and grows to an impossible size, eating up the inhabitants of Skid row and threatening the future of the human race.
The Mushnik sisters were played with masterful characterisation by Emily (Fourth Form, Gascoigne) and Nancy (Fourth Form, Swift), especially with their ludicrously funny dancing and deadpan delivery. Oscar (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh) was suitably terrifying as the demonic dentist whose violently psychotic behaviour results in a grisly death, and Poppy’s (Lower Sixth, Gascoigne) exceptional vocal range was pitch perfect as the voice of as the carnivorous plant ‘Audrey 2’. There was excellent support from many members of the cast.
Special mention must go to the extraordinary performance provided by the ‘Devines’. This chorus group were onstage throughout, bookending scenes with fantastic renditions of the songs, resplendent in poodle skirts and lurid green ball gowns. All of the Devines were excellent in their choreography, singing and characterisation.
The flamboyance of this production was complemented by the fantastic costumes, puppets and set design. There was a schlock-horror feel to the design, with throwbacks to the ‘B’ movies of the 1950s. Particular note must be made of the four wonderful puppets which charted Audrey 2’s growth, from bloodthirsty seedling through to the vast human-guzzling monster she became. A dance routine with an excitable potted Audrey 2 was just one of the many memorable and hilarious moments.
This was a brilliant production which demonstrated the extraordinary talent and creative flair here at Cokethorpe. Put on in a space of eight weeks, with invaluable help from the Music and DT Departments, all of those cast and crew members who took part should be very proud of this achievement. It was a watershed moment for Cokethorpe Drama, and a colourful reminder of what we can achieve together, in the joyous celebration of performance.