Pupils on song in dark comedic performance

BLOODSHED, domestic violence, cruelty and murder certainly do make very hard subjects for a musical comedy.

But the talented pupils of Aboyne Academy rose admirably to the dark challenge of Little Shop of Horrors, producing a highly enjoyable entertainment in which raw young talent portrayed a powerful tale of love versus greed.

The school’s Performing Arts Faculty pulled out the stops at Aboyne Community Theatre (June 26 and 27) to give us a rip-roaring mix of laughter and musical delights in the story of a mysterious plant which develops a taste for human blood.

At the top of the niceness scale, the magnificent Rory Beaton was at his best as the hapless, love-lorn Seymour, whose idea to put an unusual plant in the window of a struggling flower shop on Skid Row started the descent into madness.

Two major support roles were shared.

On the Thursday night, Zachary Sole was brilliantly bossy as the scheming flower shop owner and Halla Price tore at the heartstrings as a beautiful young victim of brutality.

Wednesday night spies report Bob O’Reilly McLean and Libby Munro were equally stunning in these parts.

Craig Giblin rose hilariously to the task of unashamed villain who met a sticky end through his own dastardly deeds.

By the time he had established his rotten credentials, even the most mildmannered in the audience wanted to feed him to the man-trap plant, which grew in malevolence before our eyes through the skilled puppetry of Alex Day and the hypnotism of Brad Arthur’s voice.

Brad, along with Josh Day and Seoras Blair, also gave seamless and multi-roled performances that were only detectable because of the number of times their names appeared in the programme.

It gave the production a strong backbone, enhanced by gifted singing and acting by Elisabeth Hargreaves, Emily Hazley, Ellen Glass, Corin Reid, Merryn Thomson and Evie Cumming, whose harmonies were truly delightful.

Special mention must go to supporting players Eilidh McRae, Maria Power, Jemma Ferries, Catriona Mair, Natalie Reid, Sasha Potter and Georgia Smith, to the talented band and to the clever team who constructed the four stages of scary plant.

Farewell Rory Beaton, for whom a bigger stage awaits in London. Upper Deeside will miss – but never forget...