BWW Review: Raleigh Little Theatre's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
Based on Roger Corman's 1960 black comedy of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors follows Seymour Krelborn, a meek floral assistant who stumbles across a new breed of plant that he names "Audrey II" after a coworker he has a crush on. This foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down-and-out Krelborn, as long as he keeps feeding it blood. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II's out-of-this-world origins and intent toward global domination!
After having its world premiere at the Workshop of the Players' Arts (WPA) Off-Off-Broadway on May 6, 1982, the musical quickly moved to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway in Manhattan's East Village on July 27, 1982. The production won tons of acclaim and accolades, and ended up running for 2,209 performances by the time it closed on November 1st, 1987. Over the years, the musical has spawned a popular 1986 film adaptation, a 2003 Broadway production, and has been frequently produced all over the world thanks to its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations.
The production which opens in the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre tonight has a wonderful cast of local talent who seem to be perfect for their roles. Brian Fisher gives a sincere performance as Seymour Krelborn, the insecure florist clerk who is taken for granted because of his clumsy ways and poor social skills. Mackie Raymond gives a sweet performance as Audrey, the love of Seymour's life who has poor self-worth and education, but incredible good looks and a sweet and vulnerable demeanor. Tristan Younce gives a dynamic performance as the abusive dentist, Orin Scrivello (D.D.S.). Not to mention that the three girls who play the street urchins (Elizabeth Quesada as Chiffon, Jasmine Marshall as Crystal, and Natasha Gore as Ronette) brilliantly serve as the Greek Chorus with some shiny vocal chords.
Under the direction of Patrick Torres, the way that Audrey II is portrayed in this production is that whenever she comes she speaks, her voice actor, Chase Rivers, shows up, allowing the audience to see the character's facial expressions. Rivers threatening performance along with the amazing puppet work by Dane Swanser create such a memorable character that grows bigger and bigger right before our very eyes. Overall, Little Shop of Horrors is a musical that successfully manages its balance between comedy and horror. You better get your tickets while you can! Raleigh Little Theatre's production begins performances tonight and runs through February 25th.
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