In May we saw the return of live theatre to Downside – one of the first schools in the country to create a ‘live’ performance for a ‘live’ audience.

We are extremely proud of the dedication from our committed Sixth Form cast and production crew who treated us to a fast-paced and amusing show night after night.

Little Shop of Horrors is a wonderful production with some real toe tapping songs, but it also teaches us about the dangers of greed, jealousy and our constant wishes for more. The moral? Be honest and true to who you are or you might get eaten!

Sixth Former Alex Harwood took the lead role of Seymour and delivered a polished performance both in terms of his acting, his singing and having to cope with many a moral dilemma including feeding a flesh-eating plant – Audrey II! It was Alex’s last time on the stage at Downside having been a regular performer through his seven years at the School. Alex didn’t disappoint, juggling put-downs from his boss, unrequited love (at first) with the girl of his dreams, Audrey – played magnificently by Lily Garrett, whilst also dealing with constant requests from Audrey II to “Feed me, Seymour!”

Each song had eye-catching and imaginative dance moves to accompany it, expertly crafted by visiting choreographer and stage combat instructor Maisie Carter.

From the stingy and dishonest shop owner Mushnik to the narrative musings of the Ronnettes; the sheer brilliance of the mad dentist, played rather scarily by Sophia Burton, to the clever set of Audrey puppets, the larger of which were puppeteered by Head Boy Nick Hobbs… Little Shop was an exhilarating show magnificently brought to life by a totally committed and very creative cast, expert supporting production team and brilliant live band. The penultimate number showed one of our Choral and Academic scholars in a whole new light as the human embodiment of Audrey II. Stephanie Jedy-Agba rocked the stage with her rendition of Mean Green Mother from Outerspace, with help from the rest of the cast.

From the Director: ‘When I sat down with the Performing Arts team at Downside before Christmas, and we planned to produce Little Shop of Horrors, I knew what an epic journey it was going to be.

Rehearsals began in January during lockdown, with pupils joining online from all over the world to learn dance routines and to start exploring the characters and script. I was so impressed with the way the pupils adapted to this new way of rehearsing and the challenges that learning a dance routine via a computer screen, in their own homes, with often intermittent WiFi signal, would create. They did a fabulous job, which meant that, when they returned to School at the beginning of March (or even later) and we met as a cast in person for the first time, we were able to quickly piece things together in the two short months of rehearsals.

The pupils skillfully juggled the return to School life, academic lessons, assessments, live rehearsals and changing casts. They excelled themselves in their enthusiasm, commitment and passion for the arts; it was a privilege for me to share the stage with them.’
Tristan Carter, Director and the role of Mushnik,
Head of Acting at Bath School of Acting and Curtain Up Theatre School

Click here to view the programme from the show.