Edinburgh Fringe 2011: Little Shop of Horrors, theSpace on Niddry Street

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After arriving into Edinburgh much later than intended thanks to delays at Heathrow, by 10pm last night I was dying to see some theatre. Where better, then, to try out the official Edinburgh Fringe iPhone app’s “Near me now” feature?

That showed me that Violet Shock were “return[ing] to the Fringe with their much-praised take on the cult musical” Little Shop of Horrors, written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and based upon the Roger Corman film. 

Finding local shows at a relevant time is clearly the app’s strong point. Its failing, though is that unlike the full website, it doesn’t link to published reviews. If it had, I might have been spared. 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2011: Little Shop of Horrors, theSpace on Niddry Street1Scott Matthewman2011-08-28 12:14:07After arriving into Edinburgh much later than intended thanks to delays at Heathrow, by 10pm last night I was dying to see some theatre. Where better,…

Sister Act – the London cast recording

I’ve yet to manage to get to see **Sister Act**, despite having been at the [press launch back in February](http://matthewman.net/2009/02/04/menken-serenade/). However, I knew enough about the show, the cats and the creatives to know I wanted the cast recording as soon as it came out.

I pre-ordered my copy from iTunes, mainly because the Amazon MP3 store doesn’t (yet) have pre-order facilities. However, now that the release date is here, that difference is somewhat moot, so you can use the widget below to hear extracts from each track, and purchase either individual tracks or download the full album:

Of course, if you prefer physical copy, the soundtrack album is available on CD too.

And if you want a bit more fun, here’s a video for you – the official trailer for the stage show:

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTnPt2QuGQ4

Menken serenade

Tonight, I was lucky enough to be invited to the press launch of **Sister Act: the Musical**, which starts previews in May at the London Palladium after The Sound of Music leaves the West End to tour the UK.

A lot of the usual PR guff — how wonderful an opportunity it is, how great all the cast are, blah blah blah — was, of course, present. Somewhat unusually, we got a preview of some of the new music: unlike the film, most, if not all, of the score is original material rather than the movie’s use of classic soul and disco tracks.

For the females in the ensemble cast, this was an opportunity to use the uplifting choral numbers to raise the spirits of the jaded hacks present; for Patina Miller, who will be playing the role of Doloris so famously taken on by Whoopi Goldberg in the original film, it was a chance to shine. All exceeded any expectations, no matter how high they were set.

A personal highlight, though, was the onstage appearance of Alan Menken, who is scoring this new musical. After sitting down at a conveniently placed piano he proceeded to walk us musically through his career, starting with a medley from **The Little Shop of Horrors** and progressing through his numerous works for the Disney Corporation. It was noticeable, perhaps, that movie scores such as **The Little Mermaid**, **Beauty and the Beast** and **Aladdin** deserved medleys of their own, while less successful fare such as **Pocahontas** got just a single memorable song. But that did not matter: to hear Menken perform his own material (much of it written with the late and much-missed Howard Ashman) was a dream come true. Should Radio 2 devote a Friday Night is Music Night to Menken’s work, as they have so recently to Don Black, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Strouse and so many other musical theatre greats, I’ll be there on the front row, cheering on the performers and doing my best not to drown them out in my enthusiasm.

I ran into Menken at the bar shortly afterwards. I was a gibbering wreck.

One should never meet one’s heroes.