By Courtney Smith
The University of York’s Drama Society put on a wonderful performance on the 28th of October of Little Shop of Horrors. This particular student performance was pleasantly surprising, it can be a tricky task for anyone to reinvent a classic. There is a talented history behind York’s Drama Society including alumni Simon Stephens, (playwright, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) Which can both represent the skill being born here and the pressure other students have. The actors only had a small space to work with called the Barn, although this could be a difficulty it has a quirky intimate nature to it as an entertainment location.
The benches are in rows graduating upwards rather than further back to save on space. Being very close to the performers some audiences may find it awkward. However, the talent that was displayed abolished all possibility of awkwardness for me personally. All the actors had incredible singing voices and appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves which always makes the audience have an equally good time. It was also great to see all participants presenting their professional acting abilities. Interaction with an evil plant was well used to show the credible character development.
There were certain pauses which could lead some to believe lines had been forgotten, I believe this was for dramatic effect. Furthermore, when characters faced intense moments of fear or horror this was married well with the use of lighting and music. The choreography may not have been very elaborate, but this may have been a thought-out intention so that it did not distract from the storyline.
Another possible analysis could be that some characters lacked chemistry for their romantic parts, there was forced physical movement to suggest shyness and attraction which is not needed when there is real chemistry between actors. Had the script not been as well written it may have been slightly more difficult to believe in the romance of the play. I will also say however that when the leading female role took the stage for her solo to sing a song about her lover, emotion was beautifully portrayed. This is something that suggests the two of the actors together simply may have needed to spend more time with each other to find that chemistry. Aside from this, the audiences interest and attention were held for the duration of the play and there was a very warm gratifying response at the finale, which defiantly suggests theatre at its best.