Live Live Cinema: Little Shop of Horrors

A live conversation between film, theatre, live music and sound design.
Sam Stephenson
Published on March 21, 2015


Wednesday was the opening night of a substantial journey for the four actor/musicians in Live Live Cinema's brand new production, Little Shop Of Horrors. They will be performing ten shows as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival, and from there will embark on a six-week tour of the UK and then shows in Australia and other parts of New Zealand.

The goal was to re-create the entire soundtrack in perfect lip sync of the 1960s cult classic, Little Shop Of Horrors, while the original film played in the background. There were four people on stage, upwards of 100 props and foley, an electric bass, an electric guitar, a keyboard, and a set of drums. Some would say it was gloriously ambitious, others might consider it a fucking ridiculous idea.

The stage was covered in knick knacks, garden tools, childrens plastic toys, objects hanging from the roof by a piece of string, a gas cooker, and a packet of two minute noodles. Every single one of these items purpose would become clear throughout the show.

From the moment the film began it was absolute chaos. Being the opening night and coming off the back of only two and a half weeks practice there was that hint that at any turn all could end in absolute disaster, but by some minor miracle they managed to hold it together. All in all the four musicians/actors seemed to re-create the musical score for the most part looking somehow at ease, the musical highlight for me being when Laughton Kora had the chance the get behind the drums, his facial expressions reflecting each and every turn that the storyline took us on.

The real challenge for the cast seemed to be re-creating the sound effects of the film using the op shop like array of foley, while at the same time voicing the scripts of several different characters each. Considering the film goes for 75 minutes they did a bloody amazing job. Funnily enough though, the truly magic moments on stage seemed to occur when things did go slightly awry, it brought in that human element, a real quirkiness, an on the spot feeling of utter madness that literally anything could occur.

There are ambitions to take this production for seasons in London, and the hope that people around the world will fall in love with it. There is no question that in time it will become polished, professional, and perhaps even perfect. You might get to see it at a later date, who knows. Although my advice would be to catch it before it becomes too clean, while the chaos is still there, while the foley is flying all over the stage, hitting things it shouldn't, making sounds it perhaps wasn't supposed to, and while you can still see that look of complete despair in the actors eyes without a clue as to what is going to happen next.



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