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Little Shop of Horrors as presented by Ballinasloe Musical Society

WEDNESDAY 20TH March to Saturday 23rd March 2024 

Adjudication Performance 22nd March

As I drove into the town of Ballinasloe, immediately upon turning onto Main Street on my right-hand side, I saw the most beautiful building, so historic, loads of character, and a little quirky, with a gorgeous red door and a sign that said “Town Hall Theatre” carved over two gorgeous red doors. I hoped this was where my journey had led me on this evening in March. And I was right!! Delighted, I parked and headed inside to be met by the most gracious gentleman, Gerry Sweeney. I was handed a very elegant-looking folder with my program, a notepad, and a pen and was shown to a gorgeous prime location seat. I looked forward so much to what would be my world for the next couple of hours or so. And I was most definitely not disappointed.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the outstanding work of your front-of-house team. From the moment I arrived at the Town Hall Theatre, I was met with a warm welcome and hospitality that was second to none. Their total friendliness and attention to detail were remarkable, and they made the experience all the more enjoyable.

This level of hospitality is not always found in amateur productions, but here, it exceeded my expectations, and everyone had a fantastic time. Congratulations to the entire Front-of-House Team on a job well done.

The Director was Ronan Lardner and this was his first time working as a director with the Ballinasloe Musical Society, adding a fresh perspective and excitement to the production. The opening number, “Little Shop of Horrors,” was lively and energetic. I immediately sensed the individuality of the characters of the girls Ronette, Crystal, Chiffon, and Diamond (what glorious names!) and the ensemble. This show moved beautifully and at a marvellous pace. It was directed in such a way that there was fun, there was humour, there was pain, love, music, and joy, a cacophony of emotions and personalities all on stage, all blending beautifully, and an immediate sense of camaraderie and friendship that was powerful and very quickly this whole Theatre transformed into a bit of place in our world where the audience and the cast became one – or so it felt like this anyway. The Direction in scenes such as Skid Row (Downtown) and “Somewhere that’s Green” melted my heart, the opening number was so catchy, and the scene in the Dentist chair (“Now it’s the gas”) was hilarious.

The Musical Director was Shane Farrell. As a Musical Director, there was a lovely rapport between you and your talented orchestra, which obviously shone. This team was very tight, with marvellous respect for each other and the production. Mr Farrell moved, swayed, and nodded through every musical number. The Prologue was stunning. It was a gorgeous sound that I wanted to continue. “Skid Row” was marvellous; it had a delightful pace and life.

The Choreographer was Ms Aoife McClafferty. The opening number, "Little Shop of Horrors," set the tone for the rest of the show with its energetic and lively choreography. The choreography perfectly fit the cast, with a great mix of styles. The ensemble numbers were awe-inspiring, with all the performers working together in perfect synchronisation. The dance routines were executed with precision, grace, and fun. Even the bows were beautifully moved, with dancers skipping on in unison, dancing, singing, and taking bows, and the choreography was simply breath-taking. It was gorgeous and perfectly executed by a talented and well-rehearsed cast. A very talented young lady, Ms. McClafferty, I hope to see more of your talent again. Beautiful.

I loved the Sets. The level of detail and creativity was simply outstanding. From the greasy, slimy, filthy walls of Skid Row to the quirky and colourful Mr Mushnik Flower Shop, each scene felt like stepping into a new world. The design team put in tremendous effort, and it showed in every moment on stage. Audrey 11 was a glorious creature (with a gorgeous voice!) The sets were visually stunning and added depth and dimension to the story, creating a truly immersive experience for the audience. I loved the brick wall at the back of the set, the wallpaper in Mr Mushnik's Flower Shop, and the window in the flower shop. It was so authentic when you could see outside the continuation of the brick wall that wrapped the set. Overall, the sets were a true highlight of the show.

The lighting design was equally impressive. The use of colour and shadow was particularly effective, and the way the lighting shifted to reflect the mood of each scene was truly masterful. I was particularly impressed with the use of spotlights to highlight individual characters and create dramatic moments on stage. Well done to the lighting team for their exceptional work in this performance.

The sound was indeed excellent. The music and vocals were perfectly balanced, and the sound effects were realistic. The sound team clearly put in a tremendous amount of effort, and it showed in every moment on stage.

Technically, you all truly brought the show to life in the most magical way possible. Bravo!

The costumes were very good. I loved Seymour Costume and Mr Mushnik’s and, of course, Audrey’s. The costumes were vibrant, fun, and ideally suited to each character. The costumes for the girls Ronette, Crystal, Chiffon, and Diamond were particularly noteworthy, with each character having a unique style and flair. The attention to detail was impressive, with each costume perfectly tailored to fit the character's personality and body type. The costumes for Audrey and Mr. Mushnik were also excellent, and Audrey's outfits were particularly memorable. The use of colour was also fantastic, with each character having a unique colour palette that perfectly complemented their personality. Overall, the costumes were a real highlight of the Production.

The hair and makeup were very good. The team did a fantastic job of bringing each character to life, with a particular focus on Audrey and Seymour. Audrey's hair and makeup were stunning, with the signature blonde locks perfectly styled and her makeup perfectly complementing her character's personality. Seymour's hair was also noteworthy and the use of special effects makeup for Audrey II was also impressive, with the plant looking terrifying and larger than life.

The props were also very good. The attention to detail was impressive, with each prop ideally suited to the period and the production's overall tone. I loved the bin in skid row and the wreckage on the walls, which showed it was practically condemned! The props for Audrey II were particularly noteworthy, with the plant looking truly menacing and larger than life. The props for the Florist shop were also excellent: the phone, the signs, and the small attention to detail with each prop perfectly capturing the gritty, urban feel of the setting. Much time and care went into this area, and it worked. Congratulations.

Keith Hanley played Seymour. Mr. Hanley brought a unique charm and energy to the role, making Seymour a relatable and endearing character that the audience couldn't help but root for. His vocals were impressive, with a rich and smooth tone that brought each song to life. Mr. Hanley's rendition of "Suddenly Seymour" was particularly captivating, with a heartfelt delivery that left the audience in awe. But it wasn't just his singing that stood out; Mr. Hanley's acting was equally impressive. He flawlessly captured Seymour's nervousness, quirkiness, intelligence, dark side in places with the Audrey 11 and devoted love for his Audrey.

Overall, Mr. Hanley's performance stood out in an already very good production. He brought talent and professionalism to the role that truly elevated the show. Watching him bring Seymour to life was a pleasure, and I have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him in musical theatre.

Emilia Fallon played the part of Audrey. Ms Fallon brought a lovely, unique charm and energy to the role, making Audrey a relatable and endearing character that the audience couldn't help but root for. From the moment Ms Fallon stepped on stage, I was captivated by her character. This young lady exuded a natural confidence that made her stand out and she connected with the other cast members and the audience effortlessly and genuinely. Blessed with a beautiful and powerful voice that brought her songs to life, the rendition of "Somewhere That's Green" was particularly moving, with a heartfelt delivery that left the audience in awe. Your range and control were impressive, and Ms Fallon conveyed the character's emotions through her singing beautifully. Ms Fallon’s vulnerability and innocence were endearing. Your chemistry with Seymour was palpable, and you looked great together. Your role elevated the show, Ms Fallon. It was a pleasure to watch you in this role, and I wish you all the best in the future.

Seamus Feerick played the part of Mr Mushnik. Mr Feerick's vocal and acting skills were excellent. I loved your interactions with Seymour – they were delightful, and the chemistry between the two characters was super throughout the performance. Mr Feerick had a paternal way about him, and his love and care for his beloved employee, Seymour, was so lovely. The emotions he portrayed during their scenes together were touching and heartfelt. His vocal skills were equally impressive, and his singing was soulful and moving. I think that a lot of time, effort, and rehearsals were put into this role to perfect this lovely performance, and it certainly paid off. Bravo Sir.

Fergal D’Arcy played the part of Orin, The Dentist. This gentleman made a massive impression on me from the moment he arrived on stage with his big entrance, bold and loud voice, and thug-like appearance. In contrast to the darkness of this character the scene in the dentist's Chair with Seymour were humorous. You were arrogant yet had charisma, making you repulsive in some parts and captivating in others. It is not an easy role for anyone to play with different personality traits, but you managed it and managed it very well.

The parts of Chiffon, Diamond, Ronnette, and Crystal were played with such fun, care, mischievousness, and joy. Rachel Walker played Chiffon. Izzy Tuohy played Diamond, Ruth O’Neill played Ronette, and Niamh McSweeney played Crystal. Great voices that gelled well together.

From the get-go, it was clear that these four actresses had a strong bond and worked well together in their acting and singing. These gorgeous ladies' shining moments on stage they included "Little Shop of Horrors" and your standout performances in "Downtown" and the excellent Act 2 Finale. The costumes were fabulous.

Chiffon, Diamond, Ronnette, and Crystal performed as a team on stage. As four friends, you brought incredible fun, energy, and vibe to the story. The vocals were beautiful, and the acting was top-notch. You, indeed, were a delightful group, beautifully cast.

Sarah Corcoran played the plant Audrey II. What a superb job this young lady did in this role. The plant's voice matched its movements intricately throughout the performance. For the plant to sound so lyrical and with a lovely tone when it was “making its demands” to Seymour was a beautiful addition to yet another element of this show. The treat for me was when Ms Corcoran arrived on stage in person for the end of Act 2. She blew us away with her solo with the Cast in her fabulous green dress that shone from the rafters with the most stunning voice that rocked. This was a highlight of the show for me. This young lady's voice is simply gorgeous. I wish I could have heard more of this young lady's gorgeous vocals. It was simply a fantastic finale and befitting of a company that believes in shining a light on all characters in the performance. Congratulations, Ms Corcoran.

The Chorus Master was Mr Shane Farrell. It was a lovely, beautifully sounding chorus. This Chorus’s vocal abilities were gorgeous, and the harmonies produced were beautiful. “Skid Row" was a showstopper, and the cast set the tone for the rest of the performance with warmth of tone and balanced harmonies. You brought the house down with your powerful choral singing, and I was particularly impressed with your performance of "WSKID Radio Jungle," which was a real highlight. However, your Chorus for the Finale of Act 2 stood out for me. How your voices blended was magical, and you created truly unforgettable moments in the show.

Finally, thank everyone for making my time in Ballinasloe such a delight

The quality of your production was excellent, and I do not doubt that you would fill the theatre again two-fold. Your hard work, dedication, and talents deserve to be seen by as many people as possible, and I believe adding an extra performance would be a fantastic way to showcase your skills.

Caroline Daly Jones

Adjudicator Sullivan 2023 / 2024

Photos Shared by the Society // Gregory Blackwell


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