Musical Theatre Society’s high standards in latest production

The whole cast of Little Shop of Horrors.
The whole cast of Little Shop of Horrors.

Pocklington School’s student-led Musical Theatre Society is now in its third year and its talented members hit their stride for the latest production, Little Shop of Horrors.

The growing confidence and ability of the group shone through under the direction of Sixth Formers Tom Baarda and Sam Hird, giving every impression of being an established company.

Emma Burke, Charlotte Robinson and Chl�e Griggs play the 1960s girl group chorus.

Emma Burke, Charlotte Robinson and Chl�e Griggs play the 1960s girl group chorus.

Tom literally threw himself into the role of unfortunate botanist Seymour for this production, staged at the Music School. From his first entrance, accompanied by a dramatic fall, he approached the role without an ounce of vanity, shuffling around with his hands in his pockets and an air of apology stamped on his bespectacled face.

He nailed the goofy comedy of You Never Know, dancing a conga line with the three-girl chorus and his timid declaration of love for Audrey in the show’s soaring emotional crescendo, the glorious duet Suddenly, Seymour, perfectly complemented Audrey’s joyful realisation that someone decent might actually care for her. That number quite literally stopped the show.

Audrey’s piercing vulnerability and rock-bottom self-esteem was flawlessly captured by Amy Crowther. From the unique phrasing of her breathy vocals, which carried the audience away to share her daydream of blissful, bland suburbia in Somewhere That’s Green, to the soaring melodies when she finds love – it was a performance to remember.

Much of the drama is held together by the 60s girl group-style Greek chorus, played by talented singers Emma Burke, Chlöe Griggs and Charlotte Robinson.

Tom Baarda and Amy Crowther play main parts Seymour and Audrey.

Tom Baarda and Amy Crowther play main parts Seymour and Audrey.

Will Baines gave a terrifically over-the-top cameo performance in the crucial supporting role of Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, DDS. Hallam Dytham was more restrained but equally amusing as Mushnik, the acerbic opportunist willing to exploit Seymour’s newfound fame, until his moral qualms get in the way.

Of course, the production would not exist without the flesh-eating plant, brought to life physically by the skilled puppetry of Dan Pearce, and given a voice by the incredible Sam Hird. Sam’s voice, ranging from soft and seductive, to raw and powerful was ideal for the role.

Tom and Sam’s direction of the 30-strong company was highly effective, with minimal scenery and clever lighting capturing every mood.

The ensemble’s confident singing and choreography brought infectious energy to a production delivered by a Musical Theatre Society at the top of its game.

The support team  music, back stage, costume and lighting design.

The support team  music, back stage, costume and lighting design.

Will Baines and Sam Hird.

Will Baines and Sam Hird.

Hallam Dytham as Mushnik.

Hallam Dytham as Mushnik.