Pakuranga College presents Little Shop of Horrors!

Pakuranga College Production “Little Shop of Horrors”, Auckland, New Zealand, 25th May 2021. Photo: Ben Campbell / BC Photography

Based on the 1960 dark comedy film, Little Shop of Horrors centres on a geeky florist shop worker who discovers that his exotic foundling plant has an appetite for human blood.

When Pakuranga College’s production of this popular show opened on Wednesday

Carlos Norton and Felicity Dowden in front of a live audience. Photo: Ben Campbell / BC Photography

May 26, it was evident from the outset that the production team had a plethora of talent at their fingertips.

The impressive stage set features a charming flower shop and an ever-growing Venus fly trap.

The plant is a character in itself, expertly controlled by puppeteer Natasha Munn.

Ava Purvis, Ashlee Myers and Karla Naude performing wonderfully. Photo: Ben Campbell / BC Photography

It’s voice, by turns cajoling and rude, is provided by Reuben Powell, whose dramatic skills proved more than up to the task of bringing the menacing ‘Audrey 2’ to life.

A small, live band is situated to one side of the stage for the whole show and, led by the College’s Head of Music, Richard Breed, they didn’t miss a step.

They didn’t overshadow the singers but complemented their sound and performed the bouncy ’50s doo-wop rock score with skill.

The show opens with a female trio who narrate the story.

Dressed in metallic ’80s prom dresses, Crystal (Karla Naude), Ronnette (Ashlee Myers) and Chiffon (Ava Purvis) gave us colourful harmonies and sassy personality throughout the entire show.

In fact, the show was awash with vocal talent.

The angelic voice of Jessica Sayer (Audrey), put paid to any dry eyes in the audience, particularly during her beautiful rendition of ‘Somewhere That’s Green’.

The emotion of this moment was further heightened by the accompanying duet performed by accomplished dancers Angelina Scott and Aleisha Moor.

Carlos Norton’s Seymour would have been quite at home in a professional theatre.

His stage presence was superb and his mastery of the musical numbers on-point throughout the whole of the high-energy production.

Norton’s duet ‘Mushnik and Son’ with Mason Neethling was a comedic highlight of the show, with plenty of slapstick and great comic timing from both actors, which had my 9 year old son roaring with laughter.

Felicity Dowden was an inspired piece of casting as Orin, Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend. She took on the hit song ‘You’ll be a Dentist’ and the physicality of the role effortlessly, and was delightfully swaggering and maniacal.

Each of the protagonists was wonderfully complemented by the ensemble cast, which ably kept up the energy and pace of the production, culminating in the rousing closing number ‘Don’t Feed the Plants’.

Wise words indeed!

By Roisin Lamb