Cult Show Shines At New Venue

GLASGOW'S newest theatre opened with the story of a man-eating plant, set to fantastic kitsch songs.

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Edward Reid  stars as The Dentist in a  Little Shop of Horrors at Websters, with patient Alison McGrail in  the chair
Edward Reid stars as The Dentist in a Little Shop of Horrors at Websters, with patient Alison McGrail in the chair

And if this first production effort staged at Websters is anything to go by, theatre-going audiences will be hungry for more.

Websters looked the part, a tight, near 200-­seater set in the old Landsdowne Road church in the West End.

From the inside, only the Gothic stained glass windows reminded of the venue's previous musical offerings.

But the hymns and songs of praise of yesteryear were forgotten as soon as the cast of Little Shop of Horrors took to the stage.

The cult musical set in the early 60s, tells of struggling orphan and nerdy florist Seymour. Seymour creates a new plant species (Audrey 2)to help save Mr Mushniks' ailing store - and grow his love for the lovely but intellectually limited Audrey.

And the production raced along as fast as the flesh-eating, blood-thirsty plant grew.

The chorus girls, Ronette, Crystal and Chiffon (played by Natalie Toyne, Alison Rona Cleland and Lauren Ellis-Steele) offered up harmonies tight as a bobby soxer's hair band,

But the show took on another dimension when Sabrina Carter appeared as Audrey.

Carntyne-born Carter has worked in the West End and appeared as Nancy in Oliver! in London's West End and alongside Marti Pellow in Jekyll And Hyde. And it showed.

The lady is a class act who not only revealed her tremendous singing voice but genuine acting talent, as revealed in her heavily nuanced New Yorker dimwit Audrey, conveying just the right level of idiocy but not too much so's to eliminate audience sympathy.

Britain's Got Talent star Edward Reid certainly didn't disappoint either, playing Orin the woman-abusing dentist.

His performance was almost show-stopping. And while the rest of the cast could have been based in the Bronx, the Coatbridge-born entertainer went straight to the Deep South for his voice, coming up with a delightful combination of Rhett Butler and Blanche Dubois.

Neil Thomas, who played nerdy Seymour, also revealed a terrific voice and an acute understanding of how to play dumb when required.

Clearly, Paul Harper-Swan's clever production worked on almost every level.

And yes, the set was a little Crossroads, but who cared when everyone - on stage and off - were having so much fun.

One criticism?

The venue itself was a little cold. Websters can't rely completely on the show delivering the heat.

n Little Shop Of Horrors, Websters Theatre, Great Western Road, until Saturday. Tickets £14.

Arts and Entertainment

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