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Little Shop of Horrors


Pitlochry Festival Theatre
3 stars
 From Rocky Horror to Forbidden Planet, sci-fi B movies and rock and 
roll nostalgia have been all the rage for now. Howard Ashman and Alan 
Menken's 1982 stage musical even has the parallel universe luxury of 
being both inspired by one such feature film only to be adapted into 
another. Based on Roger Corman's 1960 yarn about a blood-sucking plant 
who eats up a Skid Row flower shop, Little Shop of Horrors isn't the 
obvious choice to open Pitlochry Festival Theatre's Summer Rep season. 
Nor, in John Durnin's production, does it fully spark into the sort of 
big campy life required to make it such a ridiculous pleasure, even as 
it tackles how greed and money corrupt in a dog eat dog – or rather, 
plant eats man – world.

It's not without its charms, however, from the moment the girl group 
turned Greek/Brechtian chorus shimmy out of Mushnik's recession-hit 
store, to the alien plant's devouring of everything in sight. Jo Freer 
as Ronnette (her partners in song are called Chiffon and Crystal) is 
especially sassy. The co-relation between poverty and shop-girl 
Audrey's abusive relationship with slicked-back dentist Orin suggests 
something beyond cartoon capers, even as Kate Quinnell skirts a thin 
line between pathos and comic timing as Audrey.

As has become a tradition in Pitlochry musicals, all of the cast double 
up as the house band, with assorted trombones, clarinets, flutes and 
guitars being wielded to soundtrack each number. While such an approach 
gives a rough and ready streetband feel to proceedings, it never fully 
captivates in an intermittently funny show that should have spawned a 
monster.

The Herald, June 7th 2012

ends 

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