REVIEW: Little Shop of Horrors Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Gunnar Cauthery as Seymour In Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Gunnar Cauthery as Seymour In Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
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The inventiveness of the staging and set at Manchester’s seven-sided Royal Exchange never ceases to amaze.

The ever-growing Audrey 2, the man-eating plant, is simply superb in Derek Bond’s eye-catching production, being manoeuvered and voiced, in War Horse style, by three puppeteers led by Nuno Silva.

The effective creation of the setting in New York’s Skid Row enables us to concentrate on the principal characters – none of them immediately attractive – flower shop owner Mr Musnik and his assistants, the nerdy Seymour and waif-like Audrey.

It is a tribute to the work of Sevan Stephan, Gunnar Cauthery and Kelly Price that we quickly warm to the hopelessness and to the aspirations of each of them through their first-class acting and 
singing.

The sassy trio of Ellena Vincent, Ibinabo Jack and Joelle Moses act as commentators, belting out their soul numbers with vitality.

The striking Ako Mitchell, the crazy dentist, is simultaneously manic, comic and recognisable and it a pity therefore that he has to play a number of other cameo roles.

At just over two hours it’s a pacy show, with a true spectacular as the finale.

The scheduled run has now been extended by two weeks to the end of January, a tribute to both its popularity and its quality.

Julian Wilde