Blackwood Players Inc
Blackwood 21 (Blackwood Memorial Hall)
Until 17 Jun 2017

Review by Luke Wagner

Blackwood have aimed high by choosing to produce the ever popular “Little Shop of Horrors”. This is a stray from their more usual musicals which have primarily been local scripts.

Seymour works in a failing flower shop on skid row. If the business fails he will lose his job and won't spend each day with his colleague Audrey who he is clearly in love with. Seymour helps to turn the business around thanks to a plant he has grown a completely new species of plant that he has affectionately named after Audrey, Audrey II. Unfortunately, Audrey II is a picky eater and the plants ever growing demands cause more issues for Seymour.

Georgie Bannard makes his directorial debut with this massive task. Some of the blocking isn't quite right and actors were masked at times whilst others delivered their lines to the back of the stage. These are basic directorial observations that need to form part of the early stages of production. Bannard would benefit from some mentoring for his next time up for bat.

Technically the levels needed some adjustments with some song lyrics lost almost completely over the very loud orchestra. The set itself looked effective, but the way it was handled for changes made it appear clunky and cumbersome. More finesse here was required.

The cast is a somewhat mixed bag. James Barbary as Seymour and Karina Black as Audrey are consistent throughout. Barbary delivered quite a jittery and quirky Seymour, sometimes to a point of distraction. He would benefit from finding his feet and finding some stillness in parts. Black was charming and funny in her role and both her and Barbary delivered fine vocals.

Chris Overton as Mr Mushnik was entertaining as a struggling but money-hungry business owner. Ron Densely as Orin was absolutely charming to watch. His sheer joy at inflicting pain in his dentistry office was a highlight of the evening. Elle Nichelle, Tammy Shields and Lauren Bannard as Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette delivered great performances as the singing narrators, although their costumes were rather odd and the only time where uniformity amongst the three was when they were in shapeless sequined sacks. Nichelle's voice was beautiful and a standout across the entire cast.

Overall, this production didn't quite hit all the right notes. A little more attention to detail is required and some refining of the technical elements will help to make this show flow much better.