When you see a giant Venus flytrap bellowing a promise of untold riches to a hapless shop assistant, as long as he keeps feeding it the corpses of local down-and-outs, you know you’re not watching a usual BATS performance.
The story of Little Shop of Horrors is pure B-movie. The songs are a fantastic mix of Motown, rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop – and there’s not a sparkly tap shoe in sight.
BATS has chosen to shake things up this year, with a new style of show, a new director and a largely new cast who are rising brilliantly to the challenge of staging one of Broadway’s favourite rock and pop musicals.
Ian Moseley and Laura Newborough take on their first lead roles for the Society. Ian plays nerdy shop boy Seymour Krelborn, while Laura plays his ditzy co-worker, and object of his unrequited affection, Audrey. Both have plenty of prior stage experience – Ian with a church drama group and Laura as a session singer and child performer.
What’s been the biggest challenge in Little Shop of Horrors? “Remembering my lines,” says Laura. “It used to be so easy…and then I had children, I’m sure it kills the brain cells!” For Ian, “It’s the physicality of the role. After setting Act One I had large painful bruises so needed to invest in some padding.” A wise precaution – Ian once broke his wrist on stage in panto.
Both are loving rehearsals. “We’re working hard but we still have lots of laughs and plenty of fun,” says Ian. Laura agrees. “The cast are such a lovely lot and the chemistry between us all is great! I think the Society is in a really good place right now – so much enthusiasm and fresh talent!”
Exactly how a monstrous man-eating plant will come to life on the Haymarket stage is a closely guarded secret, but Ian confirms they’ve been rehearsing with various different props to help: “Recently it was a dinosaur puppet called Terrance.”
So how would they sum up the show? Laura plumps for “Amazing music, hilarious melodramatic storyline, all very silly but very catchy and fun!”
For Ian, “It’s funny, it’s sad, and the songs really rock!”
Six performances of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ run from Tues 14th – Sat 18th May at The Haymarket, Basingstoke.