Towards the end of this term RIC Theatre Company presented Little Shop of Horrors at Chatham Central Theatre for 2 sold out nights. Audrey was played by Maria Jarvis on the first night and Millie Bevan on the second. In 2 parts, Maria and Millie recount their experiences of being part of RIC Theatre Company’s most successful show to date
“The experience of playing Audrey was joyous, challenging, and one that I will never forget. I look back over the last two years and a half years and in the midst of all the difficulties faced nationally and personally, all the changes in our education and uncertainty in the world, I am so incredibly grateful to have had Little Shop as a shining light at the end of the tunnel – something to truly look forward to, and to motivate me. Finally stepping into the theatre was a moment of pure elation and a sigh of relief, because we had made it. All of the work and effort we had put in was coming together, and the end product was most definitely worth it.
There are many reasons why I love theatre. Perhaps the moment I enjoy least is actually stepping out on the stage, because I have stage fright (a bit counterintuitive I know). No, the reason I love theatre is because of the camaraderie and support that is built throughout the creation of a show; the moment after I first step out on stage when I am filled with a sense of achievement for having made it despite that fear, and suddenly feel like my soul has been set alight; the months of preparation that go into creating a show. Little Shop was great for me this year because it gave me a focus and purpose outside of my A-level exams, and a chance to really connect with others. There was a lot of trust between cast members and support from everyone involved. We would laugh a lot and never judged when someone got frustrated. And Sally – our director – did an amazing job at bringing this musical to life. She believed in me through everything, and was really patient in helping me find the character of Audrey, which was a challenge to say the least! But one I relished nonetheless. I have to admit, I didn’t love learning to walk in heels quite so much, but going from looking like Bambi on ice to being able to make it down a staircase and across a stage in glittery high-heels was an accomplishment! I think the phrase ‘lean into the awkwardness’ will forever stick in my mind.
This might be a bit harder to understand, but another reason I love theatre – and loved this show – is because it can go wrong. And it does go wrong. I am in awe of Rob – our MD – for making it through the show after falling down the stairs, and patching up our mistakes in the music while he was at it. The moment the entire lighting system went down was quite surreal, and added the extra challenge of trying to ignore the audience’s faces when the house lights came on. My dress getting stuck on my mic pack and having to go on wearing 2 dresses was interesting as well. But the thing about those mistakes is that it shows just how talented and dedicated everyone working on the show was, because it’s true – the show must go on. And it did. It was exhilarating to be honest.
Although it’s been more like Little Cast of Horrors at points, although there were some hiccups along the way and even up until the final show, I loved every second of my Little Shop experience. We never failed to lift each other up and help each other through, and the buzzing feeling of being in a real theatre having just done a full performance can’t be rivalled. I am so proud of everyone involved and so grateful for this opportunity.”