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BWW Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Broadway Palm


Broadway Palm has brought what it is calling a sci-fi musical to its stage. And I suppose that is one of many classifications that could apply to Little Shop of Horrors.

The show begins with a trio of singers, sort of the Skid Row version of The Supremes. Cantrella Canady, Victoria Morris, and Tempestt Perrin have attitude and vocal chops to spare. They continue throughout the show as the Greek Chorus in what will ultimately turn out to be a tragedy. Except that it's really, really funny.

Nerdy, bespectacled Seymour has been coaxing along a plant, one that he hopes will be his salvation from a life of squalor, while he longs for sweet, timid Audrey. He even names the plant Audrey II in her honor. Understudy Richie Dubkin played Seymour the night I was there with boyish awkwardness and sincerity.

Erica Clare as Audrey sports a black eye and a sling courtesy of her sadistic dentist boyfriend gleefully played by Broadway Palm regular and favorite Victor Legaretta. She longs only for an escape to someplace green in a nostalgic song filled with '50s references.

As Audrey II begins to thrive on its unusual plant food, business booms at Mr. Mushnik's floral shop. The devilishly clever puppets designed by Martin P. Robinson grow from an armful to nearly a roomful in size, alternating between appearing like an oversize set of lips or the head of a shark.

Then just as it seems Seymour and Audrey I may get their happy ending, hubris rears its ugly head. Seymour just can't resist all the fame and fortune.

As Audrey II takes over, the ever-present Motown girls' trio emerges in blood red, glittery dresses and shoes to underscore the point. Subtle the direction is not. It is delightfully corny and campy, just as it should be for a show like this one. Think Ed Wood.

Legaretta returns to do quadruple or quintuple duty in this production with a series of personas, costumes, and accents each funnier than the last. The audience ate it up. Pun intended.

The show runs through June 15. Call 239.278.4422 to join the fun.

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From This Author Fran Thomas