LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS presented Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Feb. 19. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
It was my love of the movie LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS that led me to become involved in our local theater scene about 25 years ago. Without Seymour, Audrey, and the gang, you would not be reading this review. 🙂 This is the first regional production I have attended and I’m happy to say that the Playhouse’s production does the show, (as well as and my fond memories of it) justice.
If you are a fan of the movie but have never seen the stage version, you will experience a completely different ending sans “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space,” as well as several songs that were not included in the movie.
The cast is extremely talented and does a wonderful job of making the roles their own. Nick Cearley is endearing as hapless Seymour who flinches from every harsh word. Gina Milo is easy to love as Audrey and offers an emotionally touching “Somewhere That’s Green.” Jamison Stern is hilarious as Orin and brings a quirkiness to the dentist and his various other roles that is fun to watch. The Urchins (Johari Nandi as Chiffon, Alexis Tidwell as Crystal & Ebony Blake as Ronnette) nail the harmonies and dance moves that make the roles so much fun to watch. Rounding out the ensemble is Chaz Rose as the voice of Audrey II & Stephen Kriz Gardner as the puppeteer/manipulator. The two give the ever-growing plant great presence and personality, however it was noticeable several times that Audrey II wasn’t hitting all the syllables in the dialogue and lyrics.
Playhouse’s Marx Theatre can make the staging of a musical rather challenging. Michael Schweikardt’s set design is extremely successful in the space. There are many great touches throughout and I thought the shop’s renovation was one of the most dramatic I’ve ever seen. The various transformations and quick costume changes were handled excellently by the stage management team. The production also boasts one of the most successful executions of the final number.
The musicians, conducted by Stephen Goers and located underneath the stage, rocked out the score. I found the music and vocal balance to be great and I was able to hear every line and lyric.
Opening night, the younger audience members around me seemed to enjoy the show -although the lines “tough titties” and “no shit, Sherlock” did elicit a bit of a shocked reaction from them.
Overall, LITTLE SHOP is a grade A, sci-Fi, B movie, musical comedy that is laugh out loud funny and a rocking good time.
My rating: 5 out of 5
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