Sunday, June 17, 2012


LADS at the Tractor Shed Theatre, Latchingdon

production photo:
Keith Williams Photography

An unlikely hit musical, Little Shop, and its creepy ending is unrelieved by irony or imagination in the equally unlikely setting of the Tractor Shed.

But Kris Rawlinson gives it a high-octane outing, with a brilliant band and the best Audrey II [that's the strange and unusual plant] I've seen, voiced by Jon Greaves [a raw, rasping Feed Me] and constructed by LADS' own enterprising engineers. The glove puppet is nicely malevolent, while the voracious last incarnation takes up most of the little shop, but does a great job of gobbling up its victims, with just the feet dangling from its fangs.

The humans do their best not to be upstaged by the vegetation: Dan Bavin as the sadistic Orin, doing a very scary dentist chair routine, Alan Elkins as the shopkeeper, coming into his own in Be My Son, and Lani Calvert as the wistful Audrey.

Sam Toland excels as the clumsy Seymour – his geeky boyish charm is absolutely right, and the moment when he lets his feelings have full rein is a highlight of the show, his gauche, warm, affectionate Suddenly Seymour.

The vocal trio [Aimee Hart, Jamie-Leigh Royan and Liz Pilgrim] boasts some superb voices, and the sound picture is often very impressive, though the acoustic is kinder to the band than to the voices. Lighting is less professional, I felt, with actors often left in shadow for key moments.

Kris Rawlinson directed as well as being MD and playing lead keyboard. Vicki Bird provided some lovely period choreography, and the show was produced by Peter Jones.

No comments:

Post a Comment