Noises Off - Greg Stapleton
Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Making of a Man-Eater
AUDREY II ready to star in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
That’s right: the star of the show is Audrey II — the plant with Attitude ... and Appetite! There’ll be thirty on-stage performers plus a pit band, but the real eye-catcher will be a plant, one which grows through the show from a wilted seedling to a lively two-metre-tall creature who actually devours some of the actors. Oh yes, this is a wonderfully novel musical comedy!
Audrey II came to Charlottetown after a stage debut in Windsor Ontario. She/he/it was created for Korda Artistic Productions by props professional Deb Erb, with the help of her daughter Jenny. Deb works with a group of theatre designers and artists in Stratford Ontario. She began the months-long construction of the four puppets that are Audrey in her home in Woodstock. When Audrey grew too big, Deb loaded the twelve framing pieces into her car and drove to Korda’s theatre in Windsor, where the building continued in the rear of the audience section. Deb got extra help from a team of Joe Cardinal, Matt Burgess and Jeff Marinate of Korda.
And so Audrey II’s performance career was launched in a dozen shows over January and February of this year. That’s when ACT’s production team heard about the plant. The purchase was made and the puppets were shipped to ACT’s Charlottetown warehouse. Audrey is currently being put through her/his/its paces as five puppeteers and Audrey-voices practise giving life and personality to the plant.
As Little Shop comes to a close, Audrey will have a triumphal climax by sprouting some astonishing extra appendages. But that won’t be the end for these puppets: Audrey will probably not ‘retire’ after the PEI shows. ACT plans to advertise across North America so that another theatre company can make good use of this brilliant creation. Little Shop of Horrors is performed regularly on stages around the world.
ACT’s five performances of Little Shop of Horrors are presented at the beautiful new Florence Simmons theatre of Holland College, from the 27th to 30th of October: on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (7:30) plus matinees (2:30) on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets ($28 and $25) are sold online at www.ticketpro.ca.
Information: 902-628-6778, robthomson @ pei.sympatico.ca.