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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Little shop of Horrors at the Octagon Theatre Bolton is a joy!

Review by Eileen Earnshaw


It’s always a joy to attend an event at the Octagon Theatre especially following the extensive re-furbishment and the Little Shop of Horrors fulfilled every expectation.


Written by Howard Ashman in 1986 when he was the creator of the Broadway’s renowned WPA Theatre. Little Shop of Horrors has maintained a popularity amongst theatre goers since this time. He was also an integral part of the renaissance of the Disney Empire with his work on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He passed away in 1991.


The music was written by Alan Menken who holds six Oscars and nineteen Oscar nominations.


The director of this particular production is Lotte Wakeham whose credits include the world premiere of The Book Thief which was nominated as the Best Musical Production in UK Theatre Awards. She has been resident director at the Octagon for the last several years.


The musical director is Livi Van Warmelo a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music with distinction levels M/A and currently working as free-lance MD/Supervisor/Arranger/composer across the U.K.


Choreography is by Sundeep Saini, puppet maker and puppet director is Micheal Fowler.


The principals were Laura Jane Mattewson as Audrey, the glamourous love interest and Oliver Mawdsley as Seymour who nourishes an unrequited love for her. Matthew Ganly plays her psychotic lover. Andrew Whitehead played Mr Mushnik, his daughters, Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette were played by Janna May, Chardai Shaw and Zweyla Mitchell Dos Santos.


This is a remarkable production, the musicianship a pleasure to hear, especially that of the three daughters. Comic timing of all actors impeccable, the characterisations sharply defined. The Octagon Theatre can accept yet another accolade in the production of live theatre.


The story is, in a near bankrupt florists on skid row, there is discovery of a ‘mysterious and interesting plant’ which has the ability to grant success in love and wealth to the one who feeds it. The problem, being its fondness for human flesh. As it grows, the plant becomes more demanding until the lover, and Mr Mushnik with the help of Seymour are consumed, it grows until eventually it consumes the whole set as well as the cast. Cuttings are taken and its children are spread throughout the whole of America. The production is a highly entertaining, wonderfully musical, metaphor for the under-dog succeeding in spite of the odds.


On until Saturday 18 May

Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB

Box Office: 01204 520661 (option 2)

General enquiries:

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