Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Little Shop of Horrors"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"Little Shop of Horrors"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Theatre Works' opening show of their 25th season is "Little Shop of Horrors" which is based on the 1960 Roger Corman black and white film. It is the story of Seymour Krelbourn, a meek Skid Row florist who makes a pact with a tiny plant to win the heart of Audrey, the girl he loves. Soon money comes pouring in because of this strange and unusual plant, making Seymour into a celebrity. But behind the glamour and fame lies a secret Seymour can't reveal. The plant's favorite food is human blood. This plant definitely has a hidden agenda in this boy meets girl, plant eats world campy musical comedy set in the 1950's. Director Connie Anderson and musical director Mary Jo Rett lead their talented cast on a merry romp on this fun filled journey to Skid Row in New York City, winning the hearts of the audience while doing so.

Connie gives her cast a lot of shtick to do, providing many laughs along the way. Her husband Mark built the story book set which keeps the set changes running smoothly. He also built the enormous plant that eats people, too. Mary Jo not only taught the cast the wonderful 1950's style harmonies but plays the keyboards while conducting her 3 member orchestra. Stage manager Mary Concannon keeps things running smoothly all night long. Josh Smith is superb as Seymour. He is hilarious as the nerdy klutz and his sympathetic portrayal wins the hearts of the audience. Josh's tenor voice soars in his songs including "Grow for Me", "Don't It Go to Show You", "Mushnik and Son" and "Suddenly Seymour". Meredyth Waterman is wonderful as Audrey, the ditsy blonde who is in love with a semi-sadist Dentist. She uses her powerful voice in the "Suddenly Seymour" duet with Josh as well as in the gorgeous and wistful ballad, "Somewhere That's Green" where she wishes to escape from Skid Row into an ideal sitcom setting of a house with a chain link fence. The reprise of the song is done as a comic death song that first tugs on your heartstrings while keeping you in stitches. Excellent job by both leads.

The three urchin girls are played by Marissa Silva, Jessica Roch and Megan Gonsolves. They are like a Greek Chorus set in Brooklyn who comment on what is happening throughout the show with their many songs in lovely three part harmony. These three gals have powerful voices which they use in "Little Shop", "Skid Row", "Da-Doo", "Ya Never Know" and "The Meek Shall Inherit". They also have many comic lines, too. Joe Casey is excellent as Mushnik, the flower shop owner who mistreats Seymour until he realizes the value of the exotic plant. He is a brilliant actor who gets ot shows off his powerful baritone voice in "Mushnik and Son" with a hilarious tango that resembles a demented dance from "Fiddler on the Roof". Another powerful voice in the show belongs to Frank O'Donnell as the voice of the plant. His splendid voice sells the rollicking duet "Feed Me" with Seymour and the menacing "Suppertime" where the plant wants to eat everyone in sight. Tina Brouillette is Audrey II, the plant. She operates the plant when singing and chewing up and swallowing the victims which is quite a sight to behold. Last but not least is Ryan Hanley who plays the sadistic dentist and girlfriend beater. He gets to sing an Elvis type song called "Be A Dentist" with the urchins as his backup singers. Ryan climbs on the car to threaten Seymour and his death scene where he can't remove his laughing gas mask is a hoot. He also plays a TV producer, Mrs. Luce, the owner of Life Magazine, a rep from the Philip Morris agency and a Southerner who wants to take clippings of the plant so sell around the world. The closing number of the show is called "Don't Feed the Plant" with Josh, Meredyth, Joe and Ryan as flower petals on the poisonous plant. (A word of praise to costumer Sharon Charette who hand sewed many of the costumes and the different sized plants.) So for a fun trip back to the 1950's, be sure to catch "Little Shop of Horrors" before the plant devours the world.

"Little Shop of Horrors" (19 - 28 October)
THEATRE WORKS
142 Clinton Street, WOONSOCKET RI
1 (401-766-1898

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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