Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Stratford Festival?

By: Jun. 03, 2019
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Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Stratford Festival? Little Shop of Horrors is currently playing at the Avon Theatre through Nov. 2 as part of the Stratford Festival.

A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, Little Shop Of Horrors has devoured the hearts of theatre goers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world.

The meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant he names "Audrey II" - after his coworker crush. 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 towards global domination!

The cast features: Gabi Epstein as "Audrey," André Morin as "Seymour Krelborn," Dan Chameroy as "Orin the Dentist," Steve Ross as "Mr. Mushnik," Starr Domingue as "Crystal," Camille Eanga-Selenge as "Chiffon," Vanessa Sears as "Ronette," Matthew G. Brown as "Voice of Audrey II/Cop," Scott Beaudin as "Drug Dealer/Customer," Henry Firmston as "Homeless Person/Patient/Puppeteer," Evangelia Kambites as "Street Entrepreneur/Puppeteer," Jordan Mah as "Grocer/Puppeteer," Marcus Nance as "Wino," Jason Sermonia as "Sailor/Puppeteer," Blythe Wilson as "Bag Lady/Customer," Gabriel Antonacci, Mark Harapiak and Galen Johnson as the understudies, and Antonette Rudder as the swing.

Little Shop of Horrors' creative team includes: Donna Feore (Director/Choreographer), Laura Burton (Music Director), Michael Gianfrancesco
(Set Designer), Dana Osborne (Costume Designer), Michael Walton (Lighting Designer), Jamie Nesbitt (Projection Designer), Peter McBoyle (Sound Designer), Stephen Cota (Associate Choreographer and Assistant Director), Stephan Dickson (Assistant Choreographer), Michael Hart (Stage Manager), Jacki Brabazon (Assistant Stage Manager), Sam Hale (Assistant Stage Manager), Holly Korhonen (Assistant Stage Manager), Meghan Callan (Production Stage Manager) and Janine Ralph (Production Stage Manager).

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Let's check out what the critics thought...

Lauren Gienow, BroadwayWorld: The casting of André Morin as Seymour, immediately seemed like such an inspired choice and I was shocked last night to discover that he is even more perfect for the role than I had imagined! His rendition of "Grow for Me" is fantastic and I was particularly impressed with his performance of "Git It" with Matthew G. Brown as Audrey II. Another inspired choice was the always-fantastic Steve Ross as grumpy shop owner, Mr. Mushnik.

J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail: The only actor who really earns a place in the audience's hearts is Epstein, who manages to make the abused and vulnerable Audrey instantly lovable with her earnest, yearning delivery of the show's semi-satirical ode to the suburbs, Somewhere That's Green. But even Epstein is directed to treat the macabre climax of her character arc as a can-you-believe-it joke.

Carly Maga, The Star: At this point in time, it's not realistic to think of nature leading to humankind's demise instead of the other way around (really, wouldn't we all prefer somewhere that's green at this point?), but it's fortunate that Stratford is learning to let its hair down and embrace the fun of Little Shop of Horrors. Because the flurry of dances, the spectacle of the puppetry, and the humour of this absurd tale is enough to distract one from thinking about the real dangers that our society poses - at least a giant, singing, bloodthirsty Venus fly trap doesn't exist.

Galen Simmons, Stratford Beacon Herald: From the hungry little potted-plant hand puppet to the massive, people-eating monstrosity she became, Audrey II isn't simply a marvel of craftsmanship and puppetry, she's also extremely convincing as a villainous house plant, thanks in no small part to Matthew Brown's performance.