‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at the Theatre by the Lake

The Big Green Monster Musical!
Ruth Halsey
March 29, 2024

It’s not often you see a ‘Kermit look alike’ plant playing an increasingly prominent role in a musical and with such devastating effects but be alert this plant has highly unusual specific needs!!

This musical is a brand new revival of a 1980’s classic spoof horror movie. The production is a collaboration between Theatre by the Lake, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Hull Truck Company and the New Wolsey Theatre. It is directed by Lotte Wakeman with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman.

The story is set in a small, run down flower shop in Downtown America on Skid Row. There is an uncompromising boss, Mr Mushnik and his two employees, Audrey (to be known as Audrey 1) and Seymour, who both have upsetting and difficult back stories. Unless there is a miracle the shop will have to close down. Seymour, who is dedicated to nurturing the house plants finds a suspected new species and he makes an important discovery regarding the plant (to be known as Audrey 2) which will completely change the fortunes of the shop.

Thus ensues a bizarre series of events; it turns out the plant thrives on human blood and Seymour, played brilliantly by Oliver Mawdsley, has to feed it himself – literally! As it grows it takeson a persona of its own. Mr Mushnik, expertly played by Andrew Whitehead, realises the potential of this unusual plant and catapults Seymour into the world of media promotion leading to fame and popularity of the shop. Meanwhile, Audrey 1, superbly played by Laura Jane Matthewson, is struggling with a bully of a boyfriend and turns to Seymour for emotional support and their relationship begins to develop.

There is humour, romance, intrigue, a sadistic dentist, and of course many catchy rock and rolltunes! The lyrics bring the story to life; a solo by Audrey 1 being particularly poignant. There is also a female backing group of 3 young singers and dancers who add surprising energy and flair to the eccentricities of the story, beautifully played by Yanna May, Zweyla Mitchell dos Santos and Chardai Shaw. Last, but by no means least, is the unlikely star of the show, Audrey 2, magnificently played by Anton Stephens, who sings his heart out, having satiated his edible desires!!

This is a toe tapping, hand clapping, feel-good musical despite the hidden messages of its content; how fame, greed and consumerism can affect and change the most unsuspecting person.

'Little Shop of Horrors' runs until 20 April, more information and tickets can be found here