The NODA report of my production of WAOS’s Little Shop of Horrors is in and it is very good indeed.

Neither Brian, the MD, nor I agree with the only negative comment which was it was too loud. It’s a rock opera for Goodness sake! 🙂 Oscar, our sound, engineer did a splendid job. If this was a West End show, it would have been much louder. I had a couple of West End producers in who make no comment on the sound other than it was good.



There is little I can add to the information in the programme regarding this zany musical except that it opened at The London Comedy Theatre in October 1983 and ran for 813 performances – a third of the time that it ran in New York. It is not staged very often but appeared to be great fun for those taking part in this rather dark musical.

The set was good and converted easily from the interior of the down-at-heel flower shop into the exterior on Skid Row, and the ‘stoop’ stage left was used to give varied levels to the action.

James’s stage direction and use of the space available could not be faulted. He had a large cast to deal with and had given them a wide variety of characters to portray so that in the company numbers there was always something interesting happening.

Brian is also experienced in his own field as musical director but whilst the music was played well by the six musicians it was too loud for quite a lot of the numbers, especially in the trumpet and percussion sections. This is not a reflection on Brian’s ability but on the need for more awareness in the sound /production team as to the balance. Even though the personal mikes were also loud it wasn’t always possible to pick up dialogue in the underscored sections.

Choreography was nicely stylised for the period and Zoe Davis did well in her solo début.

Matt Gardener gave a first rate performance as Seymour the flower shop assistant, awkwardly shy and secretly longing for Audrey but without the confidence to step forward and let her know.

As Audrey, Beth was a delight to watch and her rendition of ‘Somewhere that’s Green’ and ‘Suddenly Seymour’ was excellent. Beth and Matt coped wonderfully with the tricky opening number to Act Two ‘Call Back in The Morning’ and her fear was almost palpable in the presence of the vile Orin Scrivello.

Graham Kirby–Smith was very good in that despicable (but I’m sure fun to play!) role. He came across as quite terrifying and he dealt with the protracted death scene brilliantly. ‘Dentist’ was a good company number.

The three girls, Chiffon, Crystal and Ronette, played by Jemma, Jenny and Susana respectively, were super. Their voices blended well and they were the epitome of girls from that era.

Mark made a believable Mr. Mushnik and his Jewish accent was fairly consistent. He really looked the part and I enjoyed ‘Mushnik and Son’ with the additional ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ style choreography. He did pitch his voice low and because of that it was sometimes a little difficult to pick up the dialogue.

The Winos (Samantha Bottle and Patrick Coad) were convincing and like everyone else on stage looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying taking part in the show.

The various cameo roles added to the overall presentation of the musical and as Bernstein, Mrs. Luce, Skip Snip, Patricia Martin and the AM Radio Disc Jockey the actors taking those parts acquitted themselves soundly. I noted that Alex Haben had a strong singing voice.

The voice of Audrey Two was brilliantly done by Tim Beasley – all credit to him for taking a ‘behind the scenes’ role.
The three puppeteers, Georgina, Ellen and William, kept Audrey Two under control and made her seem almost human!

The finale was most impressive but again over amplified.

Costumes were a wonderful mix of items suitable for the characters represented on stage and the properties were good too. Orin’s biker gear looked great.

If there are children in a production then they should be advised not to go into the foyer in costume and make up at the end of the show.

Your programme cover is eye catching and the programme contains plenty of interesting information.

I’m fully aware that it’s in the script, but in an otherwise comic musical there’s something uncomfortable about watching a man dominate and beat a woman. This is certainly not a musical for the squeamish or politically correct, but it appeared that the majority of the audience really enjoyed it, and that is after all the aim when bringing a show to the stage for the public.

Thank you for inviting me to see ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and for your hospitality on the evening. It was good to meet James and Brian again in the interval and of course the hard working, energetic cast, on stage after the final curtain.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2019, and look forward to seeing ‘Moll Flanders’ in May 2019.

E. Gloria Smith – NODA South East Regional Representative District 12

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