Step inside the Little Shop of Horrors with the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group

Ahead of their opening week, we spoke to the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group about their newest production

Based on the beloved musical, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ comes to Edinburgh this week produced by the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group (EUSOG), who put an exciting spin on the story of florist Seymour and his plant Audrey II.

Ahead of their opening on Tuesday, we spoke to the team behind the scenes to get to know what new ideas the group are bringing to the table in their adaptation.

What is ‘Little Shop of Horrors’?

Although the musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ is beloved within the musical theatre community, many people may not know anything about the musical and what it entails.

Speaking to The Tab Edinburgh, co-producers Abby and Mathilde said: “Seymour Krelborn, a miserable clerk working in a flower shop on Skid Row, takes the meaning of carnivorous plants to a whole new level after happening upon a strange and interesting specimen he names Audrey II.

“What starts as simply feeding this plant an innocent few drops of blood, soon leads him down a dark and unexpected path, revealing Audrey II’s true intention: world domination.”

Via Andrew Perry

How is this production different to other adaptations?

Whilst ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has graced both stage and screen over the past sixty years, EUSOG is bringing a new life to the story, with Abby and Mathilde telling us that their version aims “to create a more contemporary feel to the show and bring a fresh perspective to some of the characters.

“In particular, we are portraying the character of Audrey to be more grounded and empower her with agency, intelligence, and an empathetic voice, challenging traditional portrayals that have often relegated her to stereotypical, ditzy roles for comedic effect.”

Via Andrew Perry

What does this mean for the characters in the show?

For Nash, who plays the evil dentist Orin in the production, he aims to move away from the “comical” side of previous portrayals on stage and screen and lean into the serious and more sinister aspects of his character.

He says in an interview on EUSOG’s Instagram: “You have to appreciate what you’re doing and kinda take a step back and think about what you’re doing.”

He says in an interview on EUSOG’s Instagram: “You have to appreciate what you’re doing and kinda take a step back and think about what you’re doing.”

Alison says she decided to take this route with the character as she believes Audrey is “such a complex character on so many levels” and aims to do the character justice within her portrayal.

Via Andrew Perry

How is Audrey II, a sentient plant, portrayed in the musical?

Whilst typical portrayals of the character often use puppets or large stage props for their productions, EUSOG takes a new approach.

Abby said: “Unlike many other productions of LSOH where Audrey II is portrayed as a puppet onstage with an actor offstage acting as its voice, we have our actor physically on stage”.

Speaking to The Tab Edinburgh, co-directors Amy and Tom said: “By grounding the character in a dynamic performer, who is not confined to the physical limitations of a plant, we’re able to exemplify the overwhelmingness as the plant can roam the entire stage.

“Our costume and stage teams have worked together to create a vibrant colour palette for the plant, remaining consistent from handheld smaller versions to the final costume and set dressing”.

To do this, the team have used colour, starting with neon tones to “start as a beacon of hope against the beige backdrop of Skidrow, but quickly become garish and overwhelming as the show progresses and the characters get consumed by Audrey II’s forces.

“We have enjoyed working with Thaddeus (Thaddeus Buttrey, Audrey II) to create a disturbing physicality to the character, which allows for this growth emotionally as well as physically”.

Via Andrew Perry

How is the production portraying some of the sensitive topics throughout the show?

Speaking to the team, they acknowledge that some of the themes covered within the show are extremely delicate and aim to handle the topics with care and sensitivity.

Abby and Mathilde told the Edinburgh Tab: “One of the priorities was to make sure the heavy themes such as domestic abuse were handled appropriately, and not disregarded or treated lightly as it has been in certain productions in the past.

“To this end, the team has worked to ensure Audrey’s character was consistent and grounded, and portrayed as genuinely as possible. This has made the process more challenging and rewarding, as you get the opportunity to focus on core aspects of the characters”.

Via Andrew Perry 

And finally, what has been the crew’s favourite thing about preparing for the production?

Overall, the team behind the upcoming ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ production emphasised how much they enjoyed working together throughout the whole process.

Abby and Mathilde both agreed that “the cast, crew and team have been a joy to work with and it is incredibly rewarding to witness the result of such hard work materialise now that we are in the theatre!

“The ties and relationships you create with people when working on a show of this magnitude are unique and we can’t wait for audiences to experience the show for themselves!”

EUSOG’s production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ takes place January 23rd-27th at Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh, and tickets are available here.

For further information, visit the EUSOG Little Shop of Horrors Instagram account.