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Little Shop of Horrors at Roleystone Theatre

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Branch out with horror comedy musical spoof
Little Shop of Horrors, Roleystone Theatre, musical, comedy, horror, spoof, Audrey, Seymour, plant, dentist
Seymour (Owen Measday, second from right) and his exotic plant become stars in Little Shop of Horrors, much to the delight of Chiffon (Sarah Callahan), Ronette (Niamh Nichols) and Crystal (Kimberley Harris).

One of the longest-running off-Broadway shows of all time an affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies and musical comedies comes to Roleystone Theatre this November and December. Directed by Lys Tickner, Little Shop of Horrors has a score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who redefined animated musical films with Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

The stage musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors with music in the style of early 1960s rock'n'roll, doo-wop and early Motown but while it retains the basic concept and dark comic tone of the film, much of the story is changed.

A love story with a dark side, Little Shop of Horrors follows florist shop assistant Seymour who becomes an overnight celebrity when he discovers an exotic plant with a craving for fresh blood. In exchange for blood, the plant helps Seymour win the love of Audrey with disastrous consequences.

Little Shop of Horrors won the 1982-1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award. It was also adapted into a 1986 film featuring Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Bill Murray, directed by The Muppets' Frank Oz.

Little Shop of Horrors, Roleystone Theatre, musical, comedy, horror, spoof, Audrey, Seymour, plant, dentist
Florist shop assistant Seymour (Owen Measday) with his exotic plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

I have wanted to direct this musical for more than 10 years," Lys said. "I was just waiting for the right timing for everything to fall into place and 2016 seems to be the year. This is my first stint at directing a musical, having only directed plays up until now. With a small cast and an amazing script and score, I just knew this was the one for me."

A member of Roleystone Theatre since 1989, Lys directed her first play The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a 20-year-old in 1993. She has gone on to direct Alice in Wonderland, Little Women and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and has been involved in a plethora of productions, either singing, dancing, acting or stage-managing.

With Little Shop of Horrors, Lys said incorporating dance moves was one of the main challenges. "I am working with a choreographer for the first time, which is amazing," she said.

Not only are you staging the characters' movements as you would do in a play but you are also incorporating dance and movement the two parts have to flow as one. I look forward to this challenge and I'm already amazed with the results from the first few weeks of rehearsals."

Little Shop of Horrors, Roleystone Theatre, musical, comedy, horror, spoof, Audrey, Seymour, plant, dentist
Ronette (Niamh Nichols), Crystal (Kimberley Harris) and Chiffon (Sarah Callahan) form a Greek chorus in Little Shop of Horrors.

Kimberley Harris plays Crystal, leader of an urchin gang that functions as a Greek chorus throughout the show. "They are often on stage commentating on the action, rather than taking part in it," she said. "It's nice to know a little more than everyone else!

"Crystal is sassy and strong and doesn't back down from a fight she's had to work hard to get where she is and will do whatever she can to end up in a better situation than she's currently in. We also go through about 11 costume changes in four scenes, which is really fun."

Performing since 2009, Kimberley has performed at Stirling, Playlovers, MESH, Melville, Dolphin and Roleystone Theatres and the Koorliny Arts Centre in My Fair Lady, Little Women, Nine, Steel Magnolias, Ruthless, bare: a pop opera, The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Xanadu, Annie and Spring Awakening.

Little Shop of Horrors, Roleystone Theatre, musical, comedy, horror, spoof, Audrey, Seymour, plant, dentist
Little Shop of Horrors features Sarah Callahan, left, Niamh Nichols, Kimberley Harris as the three street urchins Chiffon, Ronette and Crystal.

She has been nominated seven times for best actress in a musical at the annual Finley Awards and her role in Little Women scored her a Roleystone Theatre Life Members' Achievement Award. Kimberley also scored a Plovers best actress award for her role in Gruesome Playground Injuries last year. More recently, she appeared as Elphaba in Wicked at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

"It's a long time since I've ventured up the hill to Roleystone and an even longer time since I looked at Little Shop of Horrors," Kimberley said. "I played Chiffon, one of the other urchins, when I was at high school so getting to play Crystal feels a bit like I've finally worked hard enough to be leader of the gang. Little Shop of Horrors is such a cleverly-written show and the harmonies are absolute killers."

Little Shop of Horrors plays at 8pm November 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 30, December 2 and 3. Tickets are $25, $20 concession book on 9490 9306 or at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au. Roleystone Theatre is located at 587 Brookton Highway, Roleystone, opposite the Croyden Road junction.

Little Shop of Horrors, Roleystone Theatre, musical, comedy, horror, spoof, Audrey, Seymour, plant, dentist
Seymour (Owen Measday, front) finds himself at the mercy of sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello (Luke Daly) in Little Shop of Horrors.

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Why? It's a cult classic with a great 1960s-inspired soundtrack and plenty of comic moments
When: 8pm November 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 30, December 2 & 3.
Phone: 9490 9306
Where: Roleystone Theatre, 587 Brookton Highway, Roleystone, opposite the Croyden Road junction.
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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