HOW do they do it? In one year, the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group has put on four quality productions; the latest being a fantastic new boutique musical in their new home up at the WTG Playhouse, on the State Coal Mine site in Wonthaggi.
“Little Shop of Horrors” by award-winning local director Karen Milkins-Hendry, which opened on Thursday night this week, is the first production to be staged in the facility which is already shaping up as a second theatre in the town.
Years of work has gone into developing the venue, not only as a rehearsal base and for construction of production elements for WTG shows, but also as the location for performances as well.
And didn’t the venue come up trumps with its art deco inspired foyer, bar and kitchen opening through to the theatre space which lent itself superbly to the new version of Little Shop.
For Karen, it was a nostalgic trip back 25 years to when she played the lead in Leongatha Lyric’s production but there was nothing old fashioned about this sparkling new look at the cult piece by Ashman and Menken.
Karen has assembled a wonderful cast for this ground-breaking show, musical director Ben Stein has a superb band and all other elements of the production are up to Wonthaggi’s very high standards… and all put together in a matter of weeks after the curtains closed on “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and not all that long ago, “Evita”.
It has been a big year for the group.
The role of Seymour was made for Will Hanley, who is at his very best in this, playing opposite good friend Kerryn Moren, displaying her sweet, wonderfully controlled voice as Audrey. Their duet “Suddenly Seymour” is a highlight.
The trio of singers; Jade Dalton, Meg Watson-Jinnette and Alana Reid weave their web of 60s style girl-band music through the scenes, Jake Nelson lends his great character work to Mr Mushnik the florist and Chris Jobe is suitably devilish as the dentist.
And it’s a treat in itself to hear the incredible voice of Elly Poletti coming across through Audrey II.
All in all it’s a spectacular show but as good as the cast and band is, the show is almost stolen by the puppet work and their absolutely inspired local construction.
There are a lot of distractions over the next two weekends, what with footy finals, long weekends and all the rest but don’t miss this one, not only a chance to see a great show but also the Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s new space up at the State Coal Mine site off Cape Paterson Road, Wonthaggi (near Mitre 10).
Performance dates are: Friday, September 23 8pm, Saturday 24th 8pm, Sunday 25th 2pm, Sunday 25th 7.30pm, Wednesday 28th 8pm, Thursday 29th 8pm, Friday 30th 8pm, Saturday, October 1 at 8pm, Sunday 2nd 2pm.