Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s 61st season gets an all-encompassing title of “Flights of Fancy”. The programme notes that this year’s six productions have been chosen “because they delight in putting the fantastical, the outlandish and the all-but-impossible onstage”. And that is the perfect description of the opening offering - the now-traditional musical.
Emily Altneu, Elliot Harper, Jo Freer and Natasha Lewis in Little Shop of Horrors at Pitlochry Festival Theatre (previous picture shows Charlie Tighe) Photo: Douglas McBride
It will certainly appeal to a different breed of theatregoer, following last year’s record-breaking My Fair Lady - it is raucous, fast-moving and ridiculously entertaining.
Chiffon (Emily Altneu), Crystal (Natasha Lewis) and Ronnette (Jo Freer) set the standard with the opening number - a standard that is never to wane in Durnin’s electric production. Charlie Tighe brings geekiness to new levels as Seymour and Kate Quinnell makes a welcome return as Audrey, the masticating, squawking Bronx blonde. She was Eliza last year - such versatility, and add to that the necessity to play saxophone, clarinet and keyboards. Elliot Harper makes a huge impression in a variety of roles, none more so than the gloating dentist and Robin Harvey Edwards bumbles along as the unwitting shop owner Mushnik. Under Stuart Watson, the whole cast - including Kathryn Ritchie and Dan Smith - contributes on and offstage musically with Joseph Mann (manipulation) and David Delve (voice) also in charge of Audrey, the voracious plant.
The florist’s shop and neighbouring buildings get a real Skid Row feel from designer Charles Cusick Smith.
A nice touch comes in a post-curtain call reprise with the cast out front as musicians giving the patrons a chance to fully appreciate the multi-talented ensemble.