top of page


little shop of horrors musical artwork

All about Theatre five tar review

Little Shop of Horrors the musical is one of my favourite musicals as it combines some of my favourite things Sci-Fi, Horror, comedy and rock and roll music, not only that but the music and lyrics are by the award-winning duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman the people responsible for the music in some of my favourite Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. The musical is loosely based on the 1960's black comedy film The Little shop of Horrors however it is probably best known for the 1986 movie musical which stared Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin & Bill Murray, this was my first introduction to the musical and I have probably watched the movie about 50 times, I have seen Little Shop Of Horrors the musical twice on stage on its 2009 & 2016 UK tours so when I heard that a new production was coming to Bolton's Octagon theatre, I knew I had to go see it.

Little Shop Of Horrors production photo

On Skid Row in downtown New York, we find Seymour Krelborn an orphan working as a flower shop assistant alongside his friend Audrey, they both work in Mr. Mushnik’s failing flower shop and dream of one day getting out of Skid Row. Seymour is down on his luck he has no money, no prospects and to top it all of he is hopelessly in Love with Audrey, but she is dating a semi sadist dentist named Orin Scrivello. Seymour's life begins to turn around when he stumbles across a mysterious new plant after a total eclipse of the sun. He names the plant Audrey II and after displaying it in the flower shops window it starts to attract customers into the store, but the plant is sickly and Plant food, minerals and water don't seem to help, it isn't until Seymour pricks his finger on a rose that he discovers that Audry II has an appetite for blood.  As Audry II begins to grow fame and fortune follows but soon Audrey II's appetite has grown so big that the only way to sustain it is to commit murder, is Seymour willing to commit this terrible act in order to attain the life he has always wanted.

Little Shop Of Horrors production photo

The set for this production has been well designed by TK Hay, it is a static set consisting of two storeys with Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop the focal point on the lower level and the band situated on the upper level. The upper level where the band sit resembled a classic New York Fier escape with metal railings and staircase. Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop on the lower level is set back on a slightly raised platform, this was a clever design as it helped to separate the shop from the rest of the performance space, which was used to represent the street of New York as well as the dentist room.

Nic Farman's lighting design worked well dressing the set-in hues of green and flooding the stage with red in the more gruesome scenes with the plant.

The costumes by TK Hay reflect the 1950's -60's time period in which the show is set, I loved the brightly coloured outfits worn by the street urchins Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon as they helped them stand out against the more muted colour tones of the set.

Puppet director and maker Michael Fowkes has created some great puppets to show the different growth stages of Audry II, all the puppets looked fantastic and really sparked the imagination. The puppets moved well with the help of puppeteer Mathew Heywood and were able to create some great scenes.

Little Shop Of Horrors production photo

Little Shop of Horrors has a fantastic cast of 9 actors including several talented actor-musicians. Oliver Mawdsley was perfectly cast as Seymour, he had great vocals and was just so animated with his facial expressions and body language, giving a strong and believable performance of the geeky and nervous flower shop assistant. Laura Jane Matthewson gave an outstanding performance as Audrey and I loved her take on the character, she also had great chemistry with Oliver Mawdsley who played Seymour. Mathew Ganley is a very talented actor not only did he play the semi sadist dentist Orin Scrivello with such energy and passion, but he also played a number of smaller roles as well, slipping between characters seamlessly. Andrew Whitehead gave a believable performance as the dastardly Mr. Mushnik and Zweyla Mitchell Dos Santos, Chardai Shaw, and Janna May were magnificent as the street urchins Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon, not only did they all have fantastic vocals and great stage presence, but they also played instruments as well. Matthew Heywood did a wonderful job puppeteering Audry II and also appeared on stage as a derelict as well as playing the guitar. Anton Stephans was fantastic as the voice of Audry II his vocals were just perfection and he brought attitude and sass to the character, he along with puppeteer Matthew Heywood really brought the character of Audry II to life.

Little Shop Of Horrors production photo

This production of Little Shop Of Horrors fells fresh, fast paced and fun, the finale at the end was fantastic, it was high energy and had the audience up on their feet dancing as the cast performed 'Mean Green Mother From Outer Space', this was the perfect ending to the show and I left the theatre with a big smile on my face. You know a production is good when you get to the interval, and you are trying to work out when you can come back and see it again, I have even bought my husband a ticket as I know he will love it. So grab a ticket for this show whilst you can, you won't regret it.

Little Shop Of Horrors is on at Bolton Octagon Theatre until Saturday 18th May 2024, you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

Photo Credit - Pamela Raith

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


bottom of page