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BWW Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Arizona Broadway Theatre


DON'T FEED THE PLANT! LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Arizona Broadway Theatre meets all that our secret greasy hearts desire.

BWW Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Arizona Broadway Theatre

Every theatre patron has a show that they may consider one of their all-time favorites. For each individual the reason is different, whether that be in the perspective of a performer turned patron that may have experienced performing in a production previously, or someone that may reminisce of a time they saw the show themselves, remembering the impact it had on them.

In either case, the audience member enters with expectations, most times attainable, but none the less steeped in the hope to regain that ingrained feeling from that experience. With the affects of the recent and still ongoing pandemic, this fact becomes even more prominent, with patrons hoping to fill the void live theatre left while doors were closed. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Arizona Broadway Theatre met and surpassed expectations, whilst helping continue our return to a new normal in theatre.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is a cult classic among many, with numerous followers stemming from either the musical or its 1986 film counterpart that stared Rick Moranis, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell, and Steve Martin. Without giving everything away, the dark and comedic musical follows Seymore Krelborn, an employee at Mushnik's Flower Shop, as he raises a jive talking and blood craving plant. We find it's much more sinister purpose as the story unfolds and Seymore does its bidding. The show sits in the Twilight Zone-esque aspect, and when done well, shows how horror and hilarity can live harmonious.

Upon entering the theatre, I immediately was drawn to the stage. Beyond the set itself, I enjoyed exploring its artistry. Any knowledgeable set builder or designer could easily note it's wonderfully executed functionality, with Jacob Nalley's scenic design vision reading clearly. Paired with Leigh Treat's beautiful lighting, this show could be a must watch based on production quality alone. There were a few flaws I noticed in the sound, with sections where some actors were hard to hear in full ensemble numbers. Although it didn't necessarily take away from the show, it did pull me out of a few moments.

The Urchins are arguably the driving force of the show. Arriving in sassy Greek chorus fashion, Blair Beasley, Elise Daniells, and Jazmin Moehring, grab the audience with the opening number as Ronette, Chiffon, and Crystal, respectively, keeping hold of the audience as the story unfolds. Isaac Wesley Wilson was spot on as Seymore Krelborn, embodying the nerdiness while still providing amazing vocals. The chemistry between Wilson and Renee Kathleen Koher as Audrey is unmatched. Koher didn't only flawlessly portray Audrey, but also brought with her immaculate comedic timing throughout all her character's misfortune. The only chemistry that could combat Wilson with Koher is Jamie Michael Parnell as Orin Scrivello D.D.S. Parnell nearly personified Steve Martin on the stage, drawing the audience with his performance as the semi-sadist. Rob Watson is a perfect match as Mr. Mushnik, providing all the chutzpah this Little Shop fan came in expecting. With all that being said, people that are coming for the show, come to see the plant and the mischief that comes from those vines and teeth. Martin P. Robinson's puppet design is pure perfection, as they truly bring the plant to life on stage. A true crooner, Matravius Avent takes a suave approach to Audrey II. Instead of a slick-talking slant, Avent enters in with velvet entrancement which was refreshing. I was taken aback however by the lack of sync there was between the voice and Matt Griesgraber as the puppeteer. Although the movements and personifications were mostly there, I wasn't convinced the voice and puppet were one and the same, which this patron hopes improves over the run.

All in all, the show is all that one could hope for when seeing a show you know and love. The production and cast have done an amazing job, and Director and Choreographer Kurtis Overby along with Music Director Josh Condon should be more than proud. I lost myself during this show, still drawn to the stage and story even during intermission. Maybe that was because it filled me to the brim with what was lacking within me after being away from live theatre for so long. Or, maybe the feeling was from bearing witness to a production that was amazing beyond measure. All this is ultimately up to the patrons to decide. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Arizona Broadway Theatre runs until Sunday, August 8th, 2021. And whatever they offer you, Don't Feed The Plant. Find tickets at the link below:


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