DURING a brief chat before the opening night of Little Shop of Horrors with director Marc Mollica, he revealed this production put on by the Summer Youth Theatre Project at the Palace Theatre, was the hardest one yet, what with the colossal amount of numbers to get through.

But any concerns that this group may have bitten off more than they can chew this time were quashed within minutes after the curtain went up.

Yet again these kids left the audience whooping, applauding and jaw dropping through every scene and number, thanks to their awesome talent.

Millie-Mae Cage delivered a heartwarming performance in her role as Audrey, showing off not only her acting skills, but a voice which sounded like she has been treading the boards of the West End for years.

The same is said for Michael Bowyer who played the hapless Seymour, another top drawer musical theatre all-rounder with incredible comic timing on his side too.

But stealing the show in the comedy realms has to be Tom Johnson, who did a hilariously sleazy and sinister performance of the rather psychopathic dentist.

Constance Hastie, Ella Nevill and Pepper Vaughn-White sizzled as the trio of singing narrators. How are these girls so good, their voices so mature, while being so young?

And while we’re on a singing note, I sat through the entire show envisaging that the voice of Audrey 2 (the plant) had to surely be coming out of a big-bellied seasoned soul-singing adult.

It turned out to be a slim-built teen, Liam Baker, helped by an even littler Joe Peek who was operating the puppetry.

I could go on for far longer than space allows giving every member of the cast and ensemble a mention as each kid and the undeniable heart they put into their roles truly blew me away.

Instead I urge you to go see this yourself, on at the theatre in London Road, Westcliff, until Sunday August 12, including matinees, and see a top standard show for between £12.50 - £14 a ticket.

Visit southendtheatres.org.uk for more details and booking.