BWW Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at The Banner Studios
What would you do if you were given the chance for fame and fortune, and all you had to do was feed an alien plant? The one hiccup is the plant feeds on humans. This is the premise of Little Shop of Horrors at The Banner Studios in Nampa Idaho. The Banner Studios put together a jaw-dropping production of this iconic show.
When it premiered 1982 New Yorkers got the first taste of Skid Row, with music by iconic songwriters Alan Menkin and Howard Ashman. Audiences quickly fell in love with Suddenly Seymour and Don't Feed The Plants. Little Shop of Horrors follows Seymour, a florist working on Skid Road. When his boss becomes defeated and decides to close down the shop he brings out Audrey Two, a new species of plant unknown to Earth. Seymour is given the opportunity to become everything he ever wanted and more. Audrey Two's namesake, Audrey, is Seymour's coworker and unrequited love interest. Seymour quickly descends into a downward spiral filled with bad choices and moral ambiguity. Will Seymour make the right decision? Or will his spree of crimes catch up to him?
The location and set up of the show were very simple and minimalist. But when the crowds started to form, and the show began there was so much more than what was first presented. This community theatre production was filled with amazingly talented actors, actresses, and crew. I was impressed by the support and encouragement the large audience offered the actors, crew, and studio.
With Madison Rose and Tiffany Thorton directing, this incredible duo brought everything to life. Everything from the dancing to the stage management was impressive on a professional level. Added onto this Rose also worked with the choreography for the show. The dazzling choreography was directed by Madison Rose. Impressively, everyone was in sync and in control of the way they moved. It looked like a well-oiled machine with pure energy.
Moving onto the cast, Collin Barney was our Seymour. From the first time we saw him come onto the stage, I could see he was going to be something special. Then he opened his mouth, and I was blown away by his phenomenal singing; songs like Grow for Me and Suddenly Seymour highlighted Barney's range perfectly on the stage. He added complexity and charm to a character plagued by awkwardness. Moving onto the incredible performance of Erica Dymen as Audrey. She wasn't your typical damsel in distress type character, Erica gave her growth and strength. In her act one ballad Somewhere That's Green we get to hear Audrey's wants and dreams, something we as an audience could see in the way she sang. She tugged on heartstrings and held on until the time she left the stage. Dymen and Barney were a perfect pairing. Mushnik was portrayed by Richard Martin. He was very convincing as a core character in Seymour's development. Martin brought dimension and power to the stage. Despite not having too many songs, he still stood out in vocals.
As Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronnette we had Yvonne Juarez, Nikki Froberg, and Jaslyn Davila. This trio was incredible, in their moments on stage they were a wonderful comedic relief and gave a fresh and fun performance. As impressive as they were collectively, individually they wowed the audience with their amazing voices. Orin was played by Max Knudson, his version of the antagonistic character was witty while still being frightening. As Audrey Two we got to see Michael Vessel and Paul Dymen, this pairing worked in sync throughout the show. From the time it's a little plant, to the big green monster we see in the end, they were brilliant. Alex Bounyavong, Madison Rose, and Laurie Thornton rounded up this cast by playing ensemble roles. These actors all had their moments to shine, with quick one-liners and wonderful solo lines. This crew did an amazing job showcasing each cast member's talents.
Though this production is now finished you can see the upcoming shows, more information, and more about this theatre at https://www.thebannerstudios.com