Em­brac­ing Au­drey

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - YOUR GENERATION - Tanya MacNaughton

MUSIC theatre per­former Es­ther Han­naford al­ready had work­ing with a gi­ant an­i­ma­tronic ape in King Kong on her re­sume when she de­cided to add per­form­ing along­side a huge car­niv­o­rous plant to her skill set.

The Help­mann Award win­ner is cur­rently star­ring as Au­drey in cult mu­si­cal Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors, di­rected by Dean Bryant with chore­og­ra­phy by An­drew Hallsworth.

Pup­pet mak­ers Erth (Di­nosaur Zoo) cre­ated a new Au­drey II plant for the pro­duc­tion, which Han­naford said was prov­ing fun to work with.

“It’s op­er­ated live like King Kong, so it’s very much like work­ing with the other ac­tors in any other scene,” Han­naford, who was last in Perth for Mamma Mia, said.

“I like that it’s live ev­ery night to make it a fresh per­for­mance ev­ery night; what­ever hap­pens, hap­pens, al­though it’s pretty fool-proof. If some­thing doesn’t go seam­lessly we can al­ways keep go­ing, just like you would if you fall over or for­get a line.”

Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors is based on the film and fol­lows hum­ble shop as­sis­tant Seymour Krel­born, who works in Mr Mush­nik’s flower shop on Skid Row.

His crush on fel­low em­ployee Au­drey leads him to name a cu­ri­ous plant species af­ter her which, as it grows, proves to be more than he bar­gained for.

Han­naford, born and based in Melbourne, said the op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with Bryant and Brent Hill (Seymour) was a big part of why she chose to do the doowop mu­si­cal, com­plete with three-part fe­male har­mony Greek cho­rus.

“I knew they would put a dif­fer­ent spin on it with a dif­fer­ent take,” she said.

“I knew that it would be dark; I wanted to find the depths of the dark truth in it so that then we could make it funny. I knew they would hon­our that kind of truth.”

Han­naford said her char­ac­ter Au­drey’s com­edy stemmed for her heartache and hard­ship, which was a chal­lenge but ex­actly the kind of role she was in­ter­ested in.

“Au­drey is very vul­ner­a­ble and sus­cep­ti­ble to be­ing af­fected, hurt and moved by other peo­ple and what they do,” she said.

“I don't think Orin (her den­tist boyfriend) is the first time she’s been in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship.

“I think she hasn’t had much op­por­tu­nity or ed­u­ca­tion, she has no money, lit­tle self-worth and re­ally has spent most of her time look­ing at mag­a­zines and the way women are sup­posed to be at her age.

“She doesn’t have kids or a solid re­la­tion­ship, so I think she’s spent a lot of her time think­ing about how to be bet­ter and how to get the life she’s sort of been told she’s meant to have.

“She just doesn’t quite have the re­sources to keep up.”

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group has 10 dou­ble passes to give away to Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors on Tues­day, Au­gust 9. En­ter at www.com­mu­ni­tynews.com.au by June 20.

Es­ther Han­naford and Brent Hill as Au­drey and Seymour in Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors.

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