If your work week was endless, your fridge is on the fritz, and you accidentally mixed in a black towel with your white laundry, look no further than the Dramateurs’ production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS for your feel-good-again cure. What can you say about this long-running Off-Broadway (and later Broadway) show about a plant that eats people? MACBETH it is not (which I reviewed at the Barn as well), but it’s just so much fun that you can’t believe when its two hours are up. Suspend your disbelief for just a little while (because these actors are SO in on the joke), but make sure you don’t get too close to Audrey II!
If you go expecting the movie (starring Rick Moranis, Broadway’s Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin) to be like the musical, don’t! It’s different, mostly in good ways (except for the musical’s ending, which I dislike). Directed by Marianne and Steve DiNenno, the Dramateurs’ production stars Paul Recupero (Seymour), Brittany Adams (Audrey), Russ White (Orin and others), and the voice of Audrey II himself, Todd Engelman. These performers (and the supporting cast) never take themselves (or their parts) too seriously and completely give in to the kitsch that is LITTLE SHOP. White particularly is fantastic as Orin, the semi-sadist dentist, and had the audience in stitches. Recupero uses his body language well to convey Seymour’s insecurity, while Adams is just a hoot as Audrey (“the guttah”). When they come together to sing one of my favorite Broadway songs, “Suddenly Seymour”, it’s pretty magical.
LITTLE SHOP is nothing without its Greek chorus, Chiffon (Michele Davis), Crystal (Shanna Gates), and Ronnette (Mia Mbuy). The “Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors)” was slightly out of tune (opening song of opening night), but they absolutely owned the stage by the end of the night. Doug Smith (Mr. Mushnik) seemed like he was having the time of his life and had the crowd roaring with Recupero in “Mushnik and Son.” Becky Crunk and Jeff Hunsicker not only play supporting roles, but they’re also the puppeteers behind Audrey II. Between Crunk, Hunsicker, Engelman, and designer Jason Kramer, the deadly plant was a huge hit with the audience and looked incredible on stage.
Normally when I review for Stage, my program is covered with notes. People ask my how I can possibly see in the dark, and I really can’t (my words usually are written on top of each other). However, for this production, I wrote very little because I didn’t want to miss anything. It’s total B-movie Science Fiction, but LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS will lift your spirits and take you to another world.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
Book and lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
Directed by Marianne and Steve DiNenno
October 5-14, 2012
The Dramateurs, Inc.
at The Barn Playhouse
1600 Christopher St
Jeffersonville, PA 19403