Live Live Cinema Little Shop of Horrors: Hayley Sproull talks


Live Live Cinema is coming to town. You’d better not miss Jumpboard Productions unique, maniacal alternative performance of Little Shop of Horrors. No it’s not the musical or the film as you remember it or currently know it: it’s a “conversation between film, theatre, live music and sound design” that has been astounding and delighting audiences in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on this current PANNZ supported tour.

What is it that I think is going to be unmissable at Baycourt in mid-September (Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17):the Oliver Driver directed, “Little Shop of Horrors…. an engaging feat of brilliant musical and cinematic theatrics”. “While Roger Corman’s 1960 film is screened silently at the rear of the stage, on stage four talented performers create a live soundtrack…re-voicing multiple on-screen characters…with a new, original musical score by Leon Radojkovic and Foley sound effects by Gareth van Niekerk. (Foley sound effects are all those created sound effects).

These staid words don’t tell a fraction of what we in Tauranga can expect when Live Live Cinema and Little Shop of Horrors, hits this town. The overseas reviews I’ve peeked at reveal the sky-high energy and talent levels of the on-stage cast, the impossible to see-it-all on-stage display of music, sound and action. Joe Marshall reviewing the London performance at The Barbicon said “Live Live takes it to a new level of complexity and excitement” and Joe Fowler of the Gateshead show: “just too stupendously good…..this troupe of New Zealanders has created one of the most interesting and entertaining pieces of theatre I have ever seen.” It’s going to be organised theatrical mayhem and excitement and I’m going to be there!

So, Live Live Cinema, a production team of seven (which includes a cast of four), have in Little Shop of Horrors a contemporary, successful, international hit and this afternoon I’ve had a “telephone talk” with one of the stars of the show; award-winning comedian, Hayley Sproull.

They have “been all over the show” travelling round England and Ireland, “sometimes we didn’t know where we really were.” “It’s been an amazing opportunity travelling around England doing something you love.” Hayley fulfilled a personal dream: “to perform at the Barbicon”

No they weren’t at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Little Shop of Horrors was part of the Edinburgh Film Festival where it was interesting for the viewers thinking they were just going to see a film getting “a nice surprise”. As an aside, Hayley tells me she’s twice marched in the Edinburgh Tattoo – how quintessentially New Zealand is that, “a marching girl”!

No this production of Little Shop of Horrors, Hayley has been part of for over a year now, isn’t the musical; “it’s really got nothing to do with that musical… it’s nothing like the 1960’s Roger Corman film playing in the background. There’s the original Radojkovic music; his style is eclectic rockn’roll.” (But note, in one review he’s referred to as a “musical madman” – I think that means original, unique and amazing). There are more than four instruments being played by the cast and “the boys swap guitars in mid-song” But Hayley notes that this “lovely little classic, cult film, with its weird and abrupt ending is being brought back to life and showcased by the Live Live Cinema production and “there’s something in it for everyone.”

I want to know if audiences in different places reacted differently. “It was like all theatre performances, every audience reacts in their own way and because so much is always going on, on stage,each performance is unique.” It’s apparent in the overseas reviews that there is so much happening no-one could see it all. Hayley’s parents have “seen it five times” and because of the break-neck speed of the performance, always see something different. They’ve “never had a bad audience anywhere” “Gallway was overwhelming”

Hayley Sproull 2

Hayley would love to be part of an audience (but that’s never going happen, I can’t imagine anyone letting Audrey go) I ask Hayley if there is “audience participation” I’m thinking back to another unique Baycourt show where I was advised to sit well away for the front row! No it’s not going be like that. Although, all four actors are keen and skilled improvisers and there is audience interaction. (I’m safe).

I share with Hayley my discovering what “Foley Artist” meant – it’s the specialist who recreates the “realistic ambient sounds that the film portrays” In a film, sounds to not react acoustically as in their real life. No she won’t tell me what sound “the plunger” is making. I’d go just to see the plunger being pulled off a bald head – it will complete my life’s catalogue of experiences!

Not wanting to waste a minute of this conversation I start to “interrogate” the engaging Miss Sproull about her personal performing career. Trying to appear technologically literate, I tell Hayley I’ve seen the tweet about the chocolate mousse and the white hotel duvet. Despite my vaguely feminist background I want to know “how many girls are in the production team?” When I’m informed that Emily Hakaraia is the sound operator I know that these two will be “running the show.” Hayley laughs.

The Sproull CV includes the 2012 New Zealand International Comedy Festival Best Newcomer. There’s an alter ego “Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues” (based on a music teacher who sounds scarilly like one of mine,; perhaps they clone them?)  And Vanilla Miraka, a commissioned solo comedy show by “a white face Maori.” We share our multi-cultural blood backstories. Hopefully I’ll get to see Vanilla Miraka as part of a future PANNZ touring season).

And PANNZ Touring Agency. It’s a scheme which opens the world to both artist and audience. Essentially PANNZ selects artists and performances to tour rather than the individual artists having to approach each venue. Live Live Cinema is another of the current PANNZ touring season.

Hayley Sproull has been an ARTbop highlight. Hayley will be sharing the stage with Laughton Kora, Barnie Duncan and Bryan Coll and of course the Foley Effect Box of Gareth van Niekerk. And in case you missed it the first time: Live Live Cinema Little Shop of Horrors is on at Baycourt, Downtown Tauranga on Wednesday 16th September at 8pm in the Addison Theatre. I’d recommend you have a good night’s sleep the night before or a big lie down before you go because you going to have to be alert for this one. As Hayley Sproull said “it’s a punch in the face”.

Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood, Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.


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