Seeing Little Shop on the last day of summer seemed appropriate. I’ve seen a few productions of the musical & also the rather dull film version & of course, the original film. The star of all is Audrey II. The plot is wildly non-Broadway musical but the songs are pure show tunes with amazing melodies & clever lyrics. The subtext – consumers being consumed is still powerful.
We have Seymour (Andre Morin) consumed by his heteronormative longing for Audrey & the cult of fame, Audrey (Gabi Epstein) consumed by her longing for a suburban wifedom. The direction and choreography of Donna Feore was well-paced, while music direction of Laura Burton maintained a nice period Motown sensibility.
The performances are all strong, singing is spot on, the staging is top-notch, a Greek chorus (Vanessa Sears, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge) in wonderful costumes & a cast that clearly loves performing this show. I was quickly & completely caught up in it. Dan Chameroy, almost stole the show from Audrey II as Orin Scrivello, the charming dentist. I’ve always wondered how the ADA feels about this portrayal of their profession? I’m sure the AFA would approve of Steve Ross as the flower shop owner.
The puppetry for Audrey II (by Jason Sermonia, Henry Firmston, Evangelia Kambites, Jordan Mah) was perfection. The mostly immobile plant was given great personality by the operators. I particularly enjoyed the moments where the leaves reached out sweetly to stroke Seymour as it convinced him to fulfill its feeding demands. Matthew G. Brown voicing A II was both threatening & seductive & was perhaps the most complex character in the show, I was glad to see him brought out for bows at the end of the show.
Considering the current trend of gender & race blind casting it might have been fun to see more of that here: Suddenly a Simone, or an Aubry, would have given the show a real sense of edginess that would have put it over the top. I throughly enjoyed this production & if I could afford it, had the time & could get decent seats I wouldn’t hesitate to see it again before the end of the run.
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