Skid Row came to Bedford last weekend as future stars of the stage performed Little Shop of Horrors to a packed Quarry Theatre.
Many will remember the musical popularised by the 1980’s film of the same name staring Rik Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin.
The story revolves around Seymour Krelborn (Dylan Swain), a down-on-his-luck orphan employed at a local florists in the downtrodden area of the city, Skid Row.
With the business failing, Seymour acquires a strange plant that he hopes will change the shop’s fortunes. He’s not wrong, his fortunes do change, but not in the way he hoped.
As the plant grows it becomes apparent that all is not well, especially when it starts to develop a taste for human blood.
The cast and crew, all from Bedford School and Bedford Girls’ School, was simply fantastic. I had great fun seeing a story and hearing songs I’ve loved for many years through new eyes and ears.
It was clear the cast and crew really did put their all into their roles.
Syemour, Audrey (Laura Ellis) Mushnik (Harvey Bolger) and Orin Scrivello D.D.S. (Oscar Hill) (don’t forget the D.D.S.) were of the quality you’d expect in the West End, proving how Bedford consistently punches above its weight in the arts.
The four Ronettes (Jessica Wallace, Alice Munn, Ella Turner, Bea Anderson) sang and doo wop’d their way brilliantly through the show, narrating the story and adding some well timed and harmonious backing to the main numbers.
But, what really stole the show was the plant ‘Audrey 2’.
Starting as a simple hand puppet, the plant grew to an awesome full grown ‘Venus Fly Trap’ controlled by five people cleverly hidden to keep the illusion alive.
Voiced by Jamie Williams, Audrey 2 was certainly the star of the show. Although there will always be a special place in my heart for its namesake Audrey, who gave me goose bumps with her perfect performance of ‘Somewhere That’s Green’.
Of course Suddenly Seymour is the song most people will remember and many of the audience were singing along, but a special mention has to go to Oscar Hill for his portrayal of Orin Scrivello D.D.S., and his number ‘Be A Dentist’ brilliantly hilarious.
It as just the audience that they impressed.”It’s been a lovely process with the students,” said Caroline Millington, Director.
“To see it all come together has been brilliant, they’ve worked incredibly hard and their energy has been fantastic.”
And Proudcer Miles Leven says backstage was quite full on too: “More full on than your average musical.
“Five boys were operating the largest plant but the middle plant is a full body workout, so we had two boys alternating as it’s such a strain on the body.
“They’ve all risen to the challenge and the kids have done everything from marketing to make-up.”
With just two shows, and all sold out before opening night, I do feel for you if you missed such a great show.
But, it proves that when the Quarry Theatre, Bedford School and Bedford Girls’ School get together, great things happen.