Review: Little Shop of Horrors, City of Portsmouth Boys’ School

The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth

Arts and cultural organisations in Portsmouth and Havant are promised funding boost of almost £2m

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In a cost-cutting age, Portsmouth Players have foregone the Kings Theatre this week and gone to the City of Portsmouth Boys’ School.

Sadly, this immediately wrong-foots the company and their normally professional air is torn from them by circumstance.

Gone are the West End sets and the glamour they do so well and we are left with a stripped-down Players and, oftentimes, in close-up, the cracks in the performance show.

As Seymour, James Bradbury is exceptional.

Sure-footed and sure-voiced, he makes the leap from ensemble to leading-man with confidence and not a little flair.

He plays the emotions accurately and his top notes are as solid as a rock.

Emma Louise Wilson as Audrey is not always so accurate.

Vocally easy on the ear, her acting misses several emotional cues and she oddly directs many lines at the audience, rather than speaking to the other characters onstage.

Hayley Warner, Jacqueline Willis and Olivia Collins work well as the Greek chorus of commentators and Stephen Bradbury makes a ballsy Mr Mushnik.

Nice to see Robert Day getting some character-work, too.

Andrew Warner, singing from the wings, gives the man-eating plant all the style and chutzpah it needs – and is a joy.

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