I WAS a blubbering mess after Tuesday’s opening night of the postponed Little Shop of Horrors by RTSA.
The tears were brought on not just by the top-notch production and the sight of am-dram back at the Civic — but by the fact that this was my final review for the Tiser.
After eight years of covering our theatre groups [and a lot of hard news in-between] I will be moving on to pastures new tomorrow. And it was a moment I spotted between two cast members at the end of Little Shop that made me feel all warm inside and wet around the eyes.
Leading man Dan Fenwick, flawless as love-struck geek Seymour, had taken a bow and was lapping up the much-deserved standing ovation when co-star Caleb Summerville sought him out, grabbed his hand in triumph and proudly embraced him.
It was all in the blink of an eye but summed up what I love about Rotherham’s thriving am-dram scene. Every time I watch a show at the Civic or Lyric, the sense of belonging, camaraderie and friendship emits from the stage — it must feel so special to be a part of.
I’m very lucky that I get to see the shiny, finished product from a comfy seat, but the amount of time and effort poured into these productions by the likes of Little Shop director Dee Bennie-Marshall never ceases to amaze me.
Once again, Dee and the cast have delivered a professional-looking show which brought about some opening night big belly laughs thanks to Sam Simmons’ OTT performance as leather-clad creepy dentist Orin.
Leading lady Amelia Depledge flexes great comic wit and a touching vulnerability as down-trodden Audrey. Her huge vocals pack a punch and her fantastic ditzy New York twang wouldn’t be out of place on Broadway.
Providing the backing vocals are soulful trio Carys Booth, Ciara Stothard and Rebecca Michie, who ensured the show flowed seamlessly.
Seymour’s strange and exotic blood-thirsty plant is the show centrepiece and hats-off to RTSA’S propmaker, puppeteers and voiceover artist, who bring the ever-changing shrub to life — youngsters will love it.
Little Shop’s charm even won this cynical old hack over — I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of the musical’s title track, my only previous knowledge of the production.
So I guess that’s it — time for me to take my final bow and thank our theatre stars for all the entertainment you’ve given me over the years.
This town is packed with young talent and that will forever be what I associate with Rotherham. I’m just glad I’ll be back for something of an encore when RMTC return with Priscilla in November and I get to put the pen away and enjoy the show as just a regular punter.