Northern Light have established quite a reputation for the very high standard of their musicals and their latest production, a cult musical comedy with a science fiction, fantasy, horror theme, adds more weight to that enviable situation.
Seymour works in the florist shop run by Mr. Mushnik, who raised him. He is in love with Audrey, but has not told her. She has a boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, a dentist, who hits her regularly. Mr. Mushnik has no customers and is going to close the shop, but Seymour grows unusual plants and he places one, that he calls Audrey II, in the window. Immediately, his fortunes change for the better. As Audrey II grows, he discovers that the plant is sentient, and has been controlling his rise to fame. He finds, though, that there is a price to pay, and Audrey II has plans of its own.
Right from the start, it was clear that this was going to be a high quality production, with a well rehearsed female vocal trio, Michelle Pearson, Lisa Simonetti and Michelle Davy, accompanied by a very tightly together orchestra, under Musical Director, Gordon Combes. Sue Pole’s choreography had enormous variety and complexity, and the expanded cast executed it with precision.
Director, Ceri Horner, has cast the production well and brought out some great performances. David MacGillivray is a perfect Seymour, shy, retiring, downtrodden, lacking in self-assurance, in short, a wimp. His transformation throughout the production, through his symbiotic relationship with Audrey II, is well timed.
Amy Hutchinson is also superb, as Audrey, a stereotypical battered partner, accepting that the injuries inflicted by her boyfriend are her own fault and deserved. Hutchinson beautifully conveys the awkwardness of the situation where she is fond of Seymour, but has convinced herself that she is not good enough for him.
Brian Godfrey brings a wealth of experience to the role of Mr. Mushnik, and it shows in both his characterisation and his performance.
David Salter pulls out all the stops as Orin Scrivello, the nitrous oxide (laughing gas) addicted mad dentist, with a vicious streak a mile wide. He gets plenty of laughs as he flicks to and fro between violent and overbearing, and sudden bouts of hysterical laughing.
Rohan Watts gives voice to Audrey II, a deep, booming voice that commands attention and gives life to the plant. His powerful performance is an essential element of this production. The only real complaint would be that voice levels were sometimes too low in the mix, hopefully remedied the next night. A functional set, great costumes, and excellent lighting added a lot to the show.
This is a production that would be hard to beat. Do not wait too long to book your tickets for this one.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide
Venue: Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth
Season: to Saturday 20th April 2013
Duration: 2hrs 40min
Tickets: $20 to $30