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‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Delights and Delivers – Review

29 Feb 24

Don’t feed the plants!”

Little Shop of Horrors Delights and Delivers as Whole School Performs to Sell Out Audiences

If you managed to get tickets to see this year’s whole School musical Little Shop of Horrors, you will know for yourself what a tantalising and exceptional performance it was for all who had the chance to see it- and be involved in it!

Students from every year group across the School performed on stage, supported by musicians, designers, technicians and teachers – everyone involved can be extremely and exceptionally proud of the preparation, commitment and dedication they’d made, and that was clearly evident in each and every performance, no matter what part they played in ensuring our audiences were delighted, to say the least.

The energy of every show was evident from the moment you entered the theatre, until the minute you stood to offer the standing ovation – it was an electric atmosphere, on stage and in the audience, and a feast for absolutely every sense!

The Story of Two Audreys

The opening scene saw the audience join Seymour in Mushnik’s florist down on Skid Row; working alongside the love of his life (unbeknown to her) Audrey, he’s keen to boost business and so begins looking into different types of plants to sell – and so we discover Audrey II – what else would he name it?! Realising the plant is carnivorous, Seymour foolishly begins feeding it his own blood – and as it grows bigger and bigger, so does its appetite.

The plant attracts the attention of the press and so the florist becomes famous – an overnight success. We then see Mushnik take the decision to adopt Seymour, thus creating ‘Mushnik and Son’, much to Seymour’s (financial!) delight as the floristry business continues to…flourish!

Although keen to continue feeding Audrey II, Seymour soon realises he simply can’t give it enough of his own blood and so, with his love interest Audrey regularly at the receiving end of her dentist boyfriend’s violent temper, the decision is made, the plan is hatched – Seymour will kill and feed him to the plant! Two birds one stone? With the dentist dead, Seymour and Audrey could be together…

And so they were, for a short time, but Audrey II – whose appetite grew out of control as did the plant – eventually eats not only Mushnik but Audrey too, who on her deathbed begs Seymour to feed her to the plant so his success can live on beyond their love. And so Seymour finds himself alone – with Audrey II. How long will HE last? If you’ve seen the play you’ll know the answer to that. Not long.

A story told many a time on stage and in film, this classic came alive on our very own Seckford Theatre stage, and it was clear to see the vast amount of preparation and rehearsal that had gone into ensure every scene was what it was – truly magnificent to watch.

Of course, our key characters shone on stage, but that light also came through in the Supremes, the Temptations, in every person who had their feet on that stage and in the aisles of the theatre in some scenes. It was wonderful to see such a cross section of age (since it was a whole School musical) in terms of our actors, the sheer volume of students involved meant this sell-out show was vibrant and alive with the sight and sound of everyone involved – it really was a treat! With the lights, music, dancing, theatre set and costumes – at times you simply didn’t know where to look as there was so much to see, complementary movement and acting encouraged the audience to really feel part of the story, like they might actually be there!

Old Woodbridgians Celebrated 10th Anniversary of Their Own Performance

Family, friends and people from our community in the audience included a number of Old Woodbridgians; celebrating the 10th anniversary of their own performance of Little Shop of Horrors. Sharing their thoughts of the atmosphere ahead of the performance, they confirmed that backstage the atmosphere was a combination of nerves, excitement and exhaustion channelled into adrenaline, and that the mood in Music Room 2 could only have been described as joyful. This humble classroom had been transformed into a fantastic venue for Miss Norman, Stephen Cole the President of the Old Woodbridgians, and Sam James the School’s Alumni and Engagement Officer, to welcome back some of the cast of the 2014 production of the same musical for a reunion.

While the 2024 cast were preparing for their show, the 2014 returnees and their guests were enjoying a delicious supper and a lot of catching up and reminiscing. It was wonderful to see so many OWs return and to show off their School to their partners; just as lovely was that two of the 2014 cast had siblings in the 2024 show.

The pride in and love for the School was tantamount, as was the strength of the friendships formed here. One OW commented how surprised he was at how emotional he felt being back here after so long. All relished how welcome they felt and how they still feel part of the Woodbridgian community.

It was tricky to drag the guests away from Music 2 to watch the show at 8.00pm, time flew too quickly and there is never enough of it at events like this. Once in their seats, they all enjoyed what they described as a ‘triumph of a musical.’

“Who needs the West End when you have Woodbridge?!”

Alex Farquharson (OW 2008-2015), The Masochist LSOH 2014

Ms Mayes our Head of Drama and Johnny Williams our Assistant Head of Drama, must have been completely exhausted after a week of performances, but they stayed on after the show to catch up with the OWs. More reminiscing and memories were shared late into the night – it was delightful to hear stories from both sides of the performances, today’s and ten years ago.

‘Don’t just take our word for it’

We hope you managed to see the show for yourself but if you didn’t, we’re sharing extracts of comments, feedback and reviews from various audience members who were kind enough to get in touch with us, sharing a taste of the phenomenal performances given each and every night, and at the Friday matinee.

“I have to write to you to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed the show last Wednesday. The whole evening was enchanting from start to finish. From embracing the Woodbridge ethos of community in allowing everyone to be involved who wants to perform, leading to a packed stage full of joy and enthusiasm, to some outstanding individual performances, although the whole cast was fantastic. I have to mention the truly excellent James and George, and a vocal tour de force in Xander’s Audrey II (there was so much colour, detail and polish in his singing, I was very impressed). Claire Weston had clearly coached them impeccably, and it showed. I fear the memory of Fergus G-H’s manic Masochist will not leave me for some time; it was a remarkable cameo!!”

“The musical was incredible! The students are perfect testament to the hard work of everyone but also a resounding representation and endorsement of the whole School community, including the wonderful OWs. The whole evening made me very proud to be a part of Woodbridge School.”

“Wow, wow and wow again, what a show, what a performance! It was completely inspirational and the sheer delight on the faces of those taking part was something to behold. They were so professional, so keen to do a good job, so synchronised with one another in their dance moves, so competent with their singing and acting that it took my breath away. Everything was there in spades – the acting, the dancing, the music, the staging, the props, the enthusiasm and the commitment – it was completely amazing.”

“Even in the professional theatre, even in London’s West End, where would you find a show with nearly 200 young people on stage and in the chorus line? My heartiest congratulations go to them all on stage, as well as the many behind-the-scenes people who have played their part so well and especially the teaching staff for Drama, Music and Choreography and all the other skills needed for a show like this. They have all done a wonderful job and are worthy of the highest praise.”

“The whole performance was brought together by a truly excellent stage band, led by your Director of Music, Jonathan Woodley. It’s so heartening to have musicians at the School demonstrate such an incredibly high standard of performance. The pick- ups in the piece are incredibly hard to coordinate, with the singers also using monitors, and it was seamless. There were times during the evening, and I say this most sincerely, worthy of a West End show. The pianists deserve special mention -their playing during the quieter numbers was superlative. Kudos to all of them and the whole music department.”

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