Thousands of people have been following the antics of the latest celebrity to arrive in Donegal in advance of an upcoming stage performance.
Audrey II, star of “Little Shop of Horrors”, has been spotted around Ballybofey, staying at the Archway Suite at the Villa Rose Hotel, sampling a pint of Guinness at Bonner’s Corner Bar, shopping for a Donegal jersey at McElhinney’s, enjoying a cuppa at The Hatter Tea Room and meeting some Donegal “cousins” at Kate’s Flowers.
“The rehearsal schedule is obviously pretty intensive, but there are some days off scheduled and I intend to make the most of them,” Audrey II said, in a statement the Balor released.
Fans of “Little Shop of Horrors” will know that Audrey II is the man-eating plant grown by Seymour, the hapless employee of a Skid Row florist in the darkly comic musical. Originally a 1960 Roger Corman film, “Little Shop of Horrors” was transformed into a rock ‘n roll stage musical in the 1980s before being made into a 1986 film featuring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
The Butt Drama Circle present “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, from Wednesday, Aug. 6th to Sunday, Aug. 10th, at 8pm nightly.
And for the coming weeks, expect to see Audrey II continue to make impromptu appearances around town. Ever since Audrey II began appearing on social media last week, people have been following his adventures through photos posted on the Balor Arts Centre Facebook page and on Twitter, at #wheresaudrey?
Conor Malone, manager of the Balor, and JC Bonar, “Little Shop of Horrors” director, are behind the playful promotion. Conor said they came up with the idea some weeks ago when the puppets representing Audrey II arrived at the theatre. Audrey II is played by four different puppets as he grows through the show, and will be voiced by Highland Radio’s Donal Kavanagh.
“We were looking at them saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had access to the star for four weeks in advance of every show?’” Conor recalled. Then they thought, “Well, hold on ...”
“Obviously it’s tongue-in-cheek, but we’re also taking the hand a little bit to the whole celebrity culture -- Rihanna buys a choc ice, and it’s on the front page,” Conor said. A photo taken from the pavement that shows Audrey II sitting inside a cafe has a delightfully silly paparazzi quality.
Expect to see Audrey II in the gym at the Finn Valley Centre and local golf club, among other places. As opening night approaches Audrey II will no doubt have to make a trip to a local hairdresser ... to get the roots done, of course.
Conor said the series not only promotes the production, by showing facilities around town, “it’s a wee advertisement for the whole area”.
And it does seem to have captured people’s imagination, with photographs of Audrey II drawing thousands of views on Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s great having a bit of fun with it as well,” Conor said. “If anyone has an idea for a visit to their business, give us a bell and invite Audrey II out.”
More information at the Balor, 074 9131840, or www.balorartscentre.com.