Friday, October 18, 2013


Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Music by Alan Menken
Directed by Ron Dowd
Canberra Philharmonic Society
Erindale Theatre, 17 October to 2 November, 2013

Review by Len Power

If you like your horror laced with 50s rock and roll music, “Little Shop Of Horrors” is a lot of fun.  Based on Roger Corman’s cheap 1960 black comedy movie of the same name, the musical version ran for five years Off-Broadway.  Ron Dowd’s new Canberra production works very well.

Musical Director, Jason Henderson, has produced an excellent sound from his orchestra and the singing of the cast is uniformly excellent.  Standout performances were given by Will Huang as the nerdy but lovable Seymour, Ian Croker as Mr Mushnik, the shop owner, and Kelly Turnbull as the fragile and bruised Audrey, especially in her heart-felt version of “Somewhere That’s Green”.  A particular highlight was Ian Croker’s and Will Huang’s “Mushnik and Son”, with witty tango choreography by Angel Dolesji.

Adrian Flor was in fine voice and character as the singing plant, Audrey Two.  The Street Urchins sung by Isabelle Bangard, Kate Graham and Mechelle Tully had strong voices and characters that blended well.  Zack Drury needed to be more obnoxious as the dentist and there was not enough difference between the multiple characters he played through the show.

There was a good set design by Peter Karmel but it looked roughly built and a little wobbly.  The adult plant was a bit of a disappointment.  What happened to the teeth it had as an adolescent?  Lighting and audio design by Eclipse Sound and Lighting was imaginative and well-executed.

Ron Dowd has directed a tightly paced and very entertaining horror musical.

Originally published in Canberra City News digital edition 18 October 2013

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