Just this side of bonkers and a huge success

The cast of Little Shop of Horrors Hayley Sproull, Barnie Duncan, Byron Coll and Laughton Kora....
The cast of Little Shop of Horrors Hayley Sproull, Barnie Duncan, Byron Coll and Laughton Kora. Photo: supplied

Little Shop of Horrors

Kavanagh Auditorium,
Saturday, October 8

Reviewed by Barbara Frame

Take a rather dreadful horror-comedy movie from 1960, turn off the soundtrack and get four actors to perform not only the dialogue but a whole range of embellishments.

Barbara Frame.
Barbara Frame.

It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in the hands of Live Live Cinema’s director Oliver Driver and his talented, skilful team (Byron Coll, Barnie Duncan, Laughton Kora and Hayley Sproull) it’s a huge success.

Little Shop of Horrors’ thoroughly nasty tale involves a burgeoning romance between two naive flower-shop assistants, Seymour and Audrey, and an even more burgeoning plant, hastily named Audrey Junior, that Seymour hopes will provide for the couple’s future — as it well might, if Audrey Junior didn’t have such a terrifying and carnivorous appetite.

Supporting characters include a bizarrely hypochondriac mother, a lunatic dentist, and more. 

The film, in black and white, is screened at the back of the stage while the actors, in their colourful and brightly-lit space, interact with it in various ways, simultaneously providing perfectly lip-synched dialogue, musical accompaniment on a variety of instruments, ingenious sound and visual effects and the very best kind of mayhem.

While the film mostly proceeds at a sedate pace, what happens on the stage is frantic. 

Timing is split-second and action mimics, augments and mocks what’s on the screen.

So much happens at once that it’s hard to know where to look, and impossible to take it all in.

Created and composed by Leon Radojkovic, the show combines gruesome goings-on with verbal and visual comedy.

Highly accomplished, it’s also just this side of bonkers.

I loved it, and so did the delighted, energetically applauding audience in the nearly-full auditorium. 


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