We all know that horror shows at Halloween go together like pumpkins in the Fall, so having The Little Shop of Horrors grace Jericho Arts Centre’s stage just in time for our most-loved trick-or-treating holiday is absolutely fitting.
Fighting Chance Production‘s play is a comedy-horror rock musical based on the 1960’s cult classic movie directed by Roger Corman. This film-to-Broadway adaptation is not only filled with talking plants that feed on human flesh, but also with catchy doo-wop, early Motown and 60’s rock n’ roll music that will make you want to bop your head.
The story begins in urban skid row where a nerdy flower shop assistant named Seymour makes an amazing discovery. After a solar eclipse, an unknown species of plant that looks similar to a Venus fly trap appears before him. Naming it “Audrey II” after a coworker who he is secretly in love with, Seymour starts to look after the plant but realizes that in order for it to live, it will need to feed on blood. Seymour gives in to its needs and as the plant grows, fame and fortune follows. The poor orphan suddenly becomes the talk of the town but Audrey II wants more. She regularly demands to be fed and promises that it will make all of his dreams come true. Seymour initially refuses but begins to change his mind after witnessing his love Audrey being abused by her sadistic boyfriend Orin.
The story ends tragically when Seymour’s grumpy adoptive father and shop owner Mushnik, pretty Audrey and the story’s unlikely hero, the sweet and timid Seymour all end up as plant food. Audrey II just happens to be an alien that wants to take over the planet and Seymour’s attempts to stop its’ evil plans was an obvious fail. Instead, the plant’s leaf cuttings will be sold across America so every household will have its very own Audrey II (insert scary music here).
Fighting Chance Production’s version of this Broadway hit is as entertaining as a high-budget show. Simple stage props and a lot of talent can go a long way and this was proven throughout, despite some minor sound issues. The Art Centre’s acoustics seem to stifle the actors’ voices but even with that, there is an allure surrounding Jericho Arts Centre. The Arts Centre makes for an intimate venue that while attending a show, you feel like you escaped into the world before you onstage.
Following two movies and numerous productions, it really is up to the actors’ discretion on how they want to portray the characters. Kerry O’Donovan’s Seymour Kelbourn is awkward and loveable. Melissa Clark’s Audrey is a self-loathing dreamer that will charm you. Both showcased their acting skills but their vocal talents stood out the most, and the support cast was outstanding.
David Nicks’ as Mr. Mushnik and Greg Delmage as Orin Scrivello added to the appeal and hilarity of the show. The vocal harmonies and groovy dancing of the street urchins, the talented back-up band and Nick Fontaine’s fantastic singing as Audrey II, all contributed to make The Little Shop of Horrors an enjoyable trip.
Just remember: sometimes it’s OK to forget to feed your plants!
Little Shop of Horrors plays Tuesdays – Saturdays until October 27th at Jericho Arts Centre