Little Shop of Horrors
Royal Exchange, Manchester
Until January 31
The inventiveness of the staging and set at Manchester’s seven-sided Royal Exchange is quite amazing.
The ever-growing Audrey 2, a man-eating plant, is superb in Derek Bond’s eye-catching production, being manoeuvred and voiced, in War Horse style, by three expert puppeteers led by Nuno Silva.
The effective creation of the setting, in New York’s Skid Row, enables us to concentrate on the principal characters – none of them immediately attractive – Jewish flower shop owner Mr Musnik and his assistants, the nerdy Seymour and waif-like Audrey.
It is a tribute to the work of Sevan Stephan, Gunnar Cauthery, right, and Kelly Price that we quickly warm to the hopelessness and to the aspirations of each of them through their first-class acting and singing.
The sassy trio of Ellena Vincent, Ibinabo Jack and Joelle Moses act as commentators, belting out their soul numbers with impressive vitality.
The striking Ako Mitchell, the crazy dentist, is simultaneously manic, comic and recognisable and it a pity therefore that he has to play a number of other cameo roles.
At just over two hours it is a pacy show, with a spectacular finale. The scheduled run has now been extended by two weeks to the end of January, a tribute to both its popularity and its quality.