Little Shop of Horrors

Feb 15 2018 | By More

★★★☆☆    Budding genius

Brunton Theatre: Thur 15 – Sat 17 February 2018
Review by Martin Gray

The classic horror musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, takes root at the Brunton courtesy of Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players – and it may not be what you expect.

The tale of a young man and his plant, Little Shop of Horrors is darker than your average musical. Florist’s assistant Seymour Krelborn cultivates a ‘strange and interesting plant’ which attracts people into the beleaguered business.

Georgio Michalakis and Chloe Yorkston. Pic Su Boyle

They can’t buy Audrey II – named after Seymour’s lovely colleague who’s dating a disgusting dentist – but once in the shop, they buy other items. Lots of them. The shop becomes famous, owner Mrs Mushnik rich and Seymour a star. But what’s Seymour’s secret, how does he persuade ‘Twoey’ to grow so large, so quickly?

Blood! This is a plant that won’t settle for Baby Bio. A real baby, maybe, but what it really likes are full-grown adults, meaty and bursting with the good red stuff. Which poses a problem for Seymour… even if he does know one scumbag who deserves to die, what then?

Who will be the next victim of the bloodthirsty bloom? And the next? Little by little, Seymour enters a Faustian pact, and the only way out is to betray the ever-more-demanding wicked weed.

more daring than most

Think you know Little Shop of Horrors? I did. I’ve seen the 1986 film a fair few times, and plenty of stage productions deriving from it. The kids from Loretto, though, are a tad more daring than most, going back to the original off-Broadway show, and the dumped original ending to Frank Oz’s movie. It’s worth going along just to see what the climax brings.

Georgio Michalakis, the Ronettes and Audrey. Pic Su Boyle

It’s also worth a ticket to see some nice performances from the teenage cast. Georgio Michalakis, in his first show, demonstrates huge confidence, and it’s justified – he’s seriously suited to Seymour, perfectly placed as the hapless horticulturalist. Like every kid in the cast, he does a mean American accent, and he delivers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s songs with charm.

Jorgey-Scott Learmonth makes a cute Audrey, perhaps slightly less ditzy than she’s meant to be, but she and Michalakis have nice chemistry, and her sweet performance of Somewhere That’s Green is a highlight of the show.

Chloe Yorkston, the oldest cast member at the ancient age of 19, demonstrates her veteran status with a fine comic performance as Mrs Mushnik, whose greed helps send Seymour down a sinister path.

huge fun

Danny Boyle, meanwhile, has huge fun as Audrey’s dentist biker boyfriend, ‘the leader of the plaque’, with his best moment being Now (It’s just the Gas).

Audrey II and Georgio Michalakis. Pic Su Boyle

And then there’s the menacing Audrey II, the plant who makes a Venus flytrap seem cuddly. Gianluca Cockburn operates the vile vine, while Aidan O’Brien provides the booming voice, heard to great effect on Suppertime.

The Greek chorus of Ronette, Chiffon and Crystal are supplemented by three ‘urchins’, and all six girls – Robyn Hoskin, Grace Fletcher, Kirsteen Brownlee, Sadie Croasdale, Ishbel Moore and Hannah Lally – deserve credit.

A lot of the time, though, they’re hobbled by an enemy far scarier than Audrey II – the sound. Whether the problem is sound balance between band and cast, the acoustics of the Brunton or the occasional failed microphone, it was often difficult to make out what was being said or sang.

Hopefully the production team led by artistic director David Ross noticed and will make the required tweaks after this first performance, giving musicians and on-stage players the showcase they deserve.

All credit to the band led by Ross Hamilton, for measured, stylish renditions of the Motown and Doowop-influenced tunes. Kudos, too, to Tracy Graham and John Lally for an imaginative, adaptable set, elevated further by the lighting of Kylle Birnie. Lesley O’Brien’s clever costumes look good, with the outfits of Ronnette and co especially imaginative.

In fact, everyone involved with the production, whether in view or behind the scenes, should take a bow for an enjoyable show. With a few tweaks, like Audrey II, it can only grow.

Running time: 2 hours (including one interval)
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA.
Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 February 2018
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinee, Sat, 1.30pm.
Tickets and details:

The cast of Little Shop of Horrors. Pic Su Boyle


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Comments (2)

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  1. Lynn Yorkston says:

    This show and the youth’s who performed there heart’s out deserve nothing less than 4 star’s if not a well deserved 5 star’s.

  2. Alison lees says:

    Absolutely fantastic show. Very professional for such young people. I would definately recommend anyone to go see it. Deserves much more than 3 stars.
    Well done to all the cast.