Brent Hill (fabulous home-grown WAAPA talent) finds himself in a leading role of the latest production to grace His Majesty’s Theatre. Cast as Seymour Krelborn, he plays an endearing and “heart on his sleeve” florist, who yearns for love and companionship, however, finds himself experiencing just the opposite.
This relationship, however, is with what he [mistakenly] refers to as an “inanimate object”, though in reality is a blood-sucking plant [literally] which grows to have a mind of its own, a foul-mouth, and a distinguished R&B swagger, resulting in potentially catastrophic outcomes.
Initially presuming that this new creation will garner much fame and fortune, Seymour learns that feeding his ambition requires more than he bargained for, as the cost grows greater and more deadly.
Asked about similarities between himself, and his character, Brett remarks that there are many. He’s a man who has often worn his heart on his sleeve but emphasises that it has been a notably positive experience to portray an individual who has a strong earnestness and humility about him.
It’s at this point that his co-star Esther Hannaford jumps in, to add that such a quality “is a rare thing” in today’s world, as though it’s becoming harder to come by.
Esther plays Audrey, Seymour’s co-worker who he is infatuated with, and after whom he lovingly names his prized plant. The character of Audrey has a past, she is vulnerable and, like Seymour, is honest and authentic though at times guileless.
Asked about similarities between herself and Audrey, Esther offers an involuntary yet sweet laugh, agreeing that like most others, both her and her character “have a past” but naturally with different circumstances. She states there is a “purity” and “innocence” in her character that she has grown to love and find rewarding to portray, especially when in today’s world it seems to be increasingly less apparent.
Though a comedy in every way, the show explores themes of success, ambition, greed and overindulgence, questioning the fatal lengths people will go to achieve their desires, no matter the warning signs.
In a world currently publicising both spectrums of greed and violent hate, the play’s message can hit particularly close to home for today’s audience. Through its authentic, love-bearing and endearingly imperfect characters, the play provides a glimmer of positivity to an audience surrounded by instances of global violence and mass crime. Its thought-provoking message, terrific cast talent, entertaining musical numbers and supporting theatrical effects are only complementary.
Esther smiles telling of a woman who recently approached her expressing praise for the show – With a glimmer in her eye, the woman thanked her for her efforts, for providing a brief moment of laughter and happiness amongst all the negativity of today. It was the kind of compliment that made both Brett and Esther smile, to which she added “only increased the level of purpose” she felt in bringing the musical to life.
To much happiness and pleasure, it seems this production may capture the hearts and minds of Perth’s audience, just as we may need it the most.
‘Little Shop of Horrors’ will be finishing its Australian Tour in Perth with a two week showing at His Majesty’s Theatre, commencing August 5th. It will be the first time a single cast member has voiced the plant Audrey II, and also held a leading role – Brent Hill – an especially noteworthy achievement during duets between both.
For more information, or to book tickets, visit the Ticketek website.