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Last Night of Little Shop of Horrors – 9 February 2012

Read about the rehearsal process here.

Twenty songs, six months of rehearsals, and four performances to the paying public came to an end this evening, as my fellow Little Shop of Horrors cast members and I bowed out. Tonight’s show broke with tradition for last-night affairs, as we stuck pretty closely to the script (probably more so than any other night of LSoH, in fact). Tonight’s audience were really very warm – the best of all four – and seemed to immensely enjoy the entire show.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Sat in a circle for the last time as the LSoH cast, minutes after coming off stage. (IMG_2925)

After headteacher Ms White made a short speech, we sang the theme chorus one last time before making our way into the adjacent Dance Studio (our green room for every night of the production) where we as a cast presented the teachers who’d made it happen with gifts and cards.

SMILING FACES: Miss Satterthwaite and Mrs Bradley with their gifts from the cast. (IMG_2930)

Within minutes of the last note being sung, cables were being thrown around, gaffer tape was being torn up, and the seats were being stacked. The stage management team on this show are one of the best I’ve ever worked with – efficient, hard-working, and (as ever) all for virtually no praise.

ALL SET TO GO: Stagehands working tirelessly to strike the set and stage. (IMG_2951)

But how’s this for a great end to a great show? As we hung up our costumes for the last times, snow was falling outside, making for a beautiful walk to Tilly’s house for the after-show party.

SNOW IS FALLING: Snow falling at the end of Little Shop of Horrors. (IMG_2963)

All agreed that it’s sad Little Shop has come to an end, knowing – despite best intentions – it’s unlikely we’ll ever be as close to each other as we have been over the last couple of weeks. My thanks, of course, go to my fellow cast members, the crew, the band, and the front-of-house staff who, with the musical and dramatic direction of Mrs Armstrong, Miss Watson, Mrs Bradley, and Miss Satterthwaite, have contributed to the high success of our show.

A longer piece on my thoughts of the end of Little Shop of Horrors will be published in the next edition of the school magazine.

Shutting Up Shop: The End of Little Shop of Horrors – 9 February 2012

Shortly before the curtain-call for Furze Platt’s production of Little Shop of Horrors before half-term, cast member Andrew Burdett described the experience of playing Orin. 

IT'S STUCK: Me, left, as Orin, asking my dental patient, Seymour, for help with removing my laughing gas mask. (IMG_3718_AlexMeade)

STANDING PROUD: I appeared in Little Shop Of Horrors as Orin. (IMG_3573_AlexMeade)Here in the school Dance Studio (acting as a green room for this production) there’s a hushed excitement as my fellow cast members prepare to perform each of the scenes they’re in for the last time. For me, it’s already almost over: I’ve sung my last note as Orin (the sadist dentist) and ‘died’ for the very last time (now there’s a phrase you don’t often read). Aside from the curtain-call, strike, and after-show party, six months of preparations for Little Shop of Horrors have come to an end.

Musicals are great fun to be involved with: there’s so much to do, especially in the last days of the rehearsals, that there’s always a great collaborative feeling as everyone and everything finally comes together. It’s not just the acting and singing. There’s lights to wire in, microphones to set up, and musical instruments to tune.

There’s genuinely no feeling quite like that of when one takes one’s final bow. It’s partly a feeling of relief (a delight that the audience enjoyed it, after all of the rehearsals), but there’s also quite a strong sense of sadness (it’s the end of a great show, something we’ve worked on for months). I remember fondly when I was the lead in HONK! (the 2010 lower-school musical). The audience were on their feet, cheering loudly as I walked proudly on stage for the last time. No doubt Mark, Tilly, and Ryan (Seymour, Audrey, and Mushnik respectively) will have a similar reception shortly, as will the rest of the cast and crew.

OPEN WIDE: Orin, my character, is a sadist dentist, whose surgery is covered in blood. (IMG_3621_AlexMeade)
Click here to see read more and see a photo gallery .

Little Shop of Horrors: The Beginning of the End – 2 February 2012

REHEARSAL PROCESS: There's now just a week to go until the set will be built, the costumes will be made, and crucially the audience will be seated. (IMG_2228)

A week tonight, the audience will applaud Furze Platt’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors for the last time; we’ll strike the set; and if we’re all not too tired, somebody will host an after-show party. This is the first time the Music and Drama departments have come together since the opening of the new arts facilities at school in October, and this show makes full use of the technical advantages of our state-of-the-art studio theatre.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY: The tech team have a big challenge to control all the lighting and sound for the show. (IMG_2276)

Rehearsals for this year’s school musical are now entering the final few days, and unlike last year when I worked with the technical team, I’m up on stage this time as Orin (the sadist dentist). It’s a fairly minor role – I made it clear from the very beginning that I didn’t have the time for the lead – but it’s easily the most entertaining character in the musical, thanks to his morbid, self-professed “fascination with human pain and suffering”, the way he so badly treats Audrey (his supposed girlfriend), and the quite spectacular way he dies. Having a more modest part has meant I haven’t had to attend as many rehearsals as Tilly and Mark (Audrey and Seymour respectively), nor have I had anything like the number of songs to learn as the chorus, but ultimately it’s allowed me to be part of the show without it impacting too greatly on my other work and social commitments.

MEAN GREEN MACHINE: The Audrey II grabs Audrey, as played by Tilly. (IMG_2250)

For those who don’t know the show, it began as The Little Shop of Horrors, a 1960 American comedy film, before it was adapted to a stage musical in 1982. Less than five years later, it morphed once more, this time into a film adaptation of the stage musical. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, it’s a hilarious story. Seymour, a nerd and orphan, is given a job by the owner of the self-named ‘Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists’, in a downtown American city. Seymour works alongside the beautiful Audrey, who he dreams of. Audrey herself dreams of one day having “Somewhere That’s Green” and living with “a sweet little guy like Seymour” – a world apart from the life she currently leads: living in run-down Skid Row and dating Orin. Seymour buys a plant (which he names Audrey II after the subject of his crush), which (in addition to the usual requirement of CO2 and H2O), also needs Hb (blood).

To find out who becomes plant food first, you’ll have to come along and watch!

Little Shop of Horrors runs from Monday 6 February to Thursday 9 February 2012. Tickets are available to buy from the school office.