Little Shop of Horrors

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This classic story as you’ve never experienced it before! Live Live Cinema: Little Shop of Horrors, produced by Jumpboard Productions, melds music, theatre, film and sound design in a completely unique way. New Zealand’s Hayley Sproull – one of the talented (and exceptionally busy!) stars of the show – explains why you should visit the Capitol Theatre in Tamworth on April 26 …

Hi Hayley. How does Live Live Cinema: Little Shop of Horrors differ from other theatrical performances of Little Shop that people may have seen?

Lots of people are confused by the idea to start with, because it’s not the musical theatre production Little Shop of Horrors. It’s actually the 1960 original Roger Corman film Little Shop of Horrors, which is what the musical was based on. So, it’s completely different from anything anyone would have seen before! The movie plays with no sound, and we create all of the voices, sound effects and brand new score. It’s pretty awesome.

So, you won’t hear any of the well-known musical numbers you might be expecting. But what you will hear is an incredibly rock ‘n’ rollin’ score by Leon Radojkovic, hilarious sound effects created out of bizarre items and the best Mr Mushnik you have ever heard.

How did the idea of creating this unique concept come about?

It started with Leon Radojkovic (composer), the mad man. Then he joined with equally mad Oliver Driver (director) and the idea was born. The first Live Live Cinema was performed by a full band, four actors and one foley artist. This time the four actors do everything, proving that Leon and Oliver have grown more mad over the years.

The production sounds like absolute madcap mayhem! How much fun have you had performing in this show?

It’s an insane amount of fun to perform, but while we were making it, all we could think was, “Is this actually going to work?”

It’s the hardest show I’ve ever performed in terms of what I actually have to do: one minute I’m playing a complicated piano piece; two seconds later I’m on the other side of the stage voicing Audrey while making sure the door creaks and a bucket drops from the ceiling. It’s insanity, basically. The cast have a lot of fun trying to make it harder for each other. I’m surprised we still get on at all.

With an entire production cast of seven (and a cast of only four), which characters do you play?

I play Audrey, Hortense Fishtwanger, the prostitute Leonora Clyde, sometimes I play the plant Audrey Jnr, screaming children … a sassy waitress whose accent I change each night just to keep it exciting!

It occurs to me that this type of production – with the original 1960 Roger Corman film playing in the background and actors not only performing in perfect lip synch to the original soundtrack BUT also playing a new score AND creating live foley (sound effects) – is potentially open to some very funny (and stressful!) moments. What have been some of the hilarious incidences you’ve needed to cope with on stage?

There have been some really tense moments so far! The piano not working (the very first sound of the show), a guitar cutting out and Byron and Barnie having to swap it out for a new one while continuing to voice the characters, props breaking, buckets dropping at the wrong time.

But I think the worst/funniest moment was in Milton Keynes in the UK, when the movie started skipping. And kept skipping. We were trying to match our voices to the actors’ mouths while the movie was freezing and jumping back and forward. It made for some hilarious improv!

What are some of the more bizarre instruments/implements you use to create sound effects?

A wet towel on a string rigged in the roof combined with scratching the inside of a large box creates the sound of Audrey Jnr, an angle grinder sparking against a metal pole makes for a good dentist’s drill and a piece of leather whipped against Laughton Kora’s bum provides a satisfying sound that really makes no sense!

What have you enjoyed most about touring this production outside of New Zealand?

The company have a lot of fun on tour, and getting to see new parts of the world is an added bonus to what is already an enjoyable production. But we love seeing how each audience responds to our mad show. We’ve had such great responses so far, and we love finding new ways to thrill our audiences.

If you were able to be a part of this production as an audience member (instead of an actor taking centre stage), what do you think the experience would be like?

I always wish I could watch it (but then I’d be jealous about not being in it). I would love to rock out to the music – it really is awesome and we’ve got some awesome musicians in our group. Screaming guitars, tricky piano, mean drums beats. We are a tight band, and the music is just awesome.

How much are you looking forward to visiting regional NSW with this show?

We are all really excited to get back together for this tour after a little break away from the show. I haven’t travelled much around Australia, so I can’t wait to see new parts of the country and share our awesome show with them. We love performing it, so any opportunity to do it is exciting to us!

Thanks Hayley.


See Little Shop of Horrors at the Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, on 26 April at 8pm.

Interview by Jo Atkins.
Photos courtesy of Gareth Van Niekerk.

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