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BWW Review: Parker's LITTLE SHOP is Full of Big Moments

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The production plays through this weekend at the PACE Center

BWW Review: Parker's LITTLE SHOP is Full of Big Moments Just by hearing the title, you've probably got the familiar bops of Little Shop of Horrors running through your head.

Even if you're somehow unfamiliar with show, you likely know something about the plant monster that invades a Skid Row flower shop.

When Seymour (Chase Conlin) brings a unique plant back to his workplace owned by Mr. Mushnik (Carter Edward Smith), he quickly learns it has a taste for blood. Seymour names the plant Audrey II (voiced by Moses Brown), after his coworker Audrey (Brekken Baker), for whom he pines. Unfortunately, Audrey is caught in a destructive relationship with a psychotic dentist (August Stoten). As the plant grows, so does its fame...and Seymour's need to find it more food. The cast also features a trio of doo-wop Urchins (Sonsharae Tull, Camryn Nailah Torres, Eli Harvey) as well as a collection of characters from Ruth (Dolly) Ortiz, Jason Bell and Maggie Ortiz.

The show has had a long history, starting as a 1960s campy horror film, then evolving to musical form in the 1980s, before reaching full cult status with its 1986 film, featuring a now-iconic score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

Sasquatch Production's version, currently playing through this weekend at Parker's PACE Center, is perfectly satiating if you've got the kind of plant-level bloodlust for live theatre we've all been craving. Directed by Kelly McAllister, the show bursts onto the stage with a kind of energy that feels like its been waiting to burst.

BWW Review: Parker's LITTLE SHOP is Full of Big Moments The large PACE Center stage is filled with a detailed set (designed by Stoten), big enough to feature the whole Skid Row block, and plenty of room for the spirited choreography by Heather Westenskow. At times it seems to be a bit exhausting for the singers, but they handle it well.

Conlin's Seymour is dorky with a twinkle in his eye, which shines through in his effortless vocals. Dude even did a casual toe touch jump. Baker's Audrey is exactly who you want for the role. Her timid personality escalates quickly into strong belting, and she knows how to play Audrey's camp without taking it too far. Together, the two are a powerhouse and bring the show's most impressive moments.

But that's not to discount the rest of the cast, who each bring something unique to their roles. As a trio, the Urchins own the stage whenever they're present. Smith's Mushnik feels down to earth, and Stoten's dentist is an ideally deranged Elvis. I couldn't get enough of Brown's vocals as the plant.

The whole energy of the production encapsulated what I've missed from live performance, sprinkled with the kind of brazen camp you'd want from a horror musical based on a zany film. Don't feed the plants, let this plant feed you. You know you're hungry for some theatre.

Little Shop of Horrors continues through July 18. Tickets are available at ParkerArts.org.


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