Little shop, big laughs
Little Shop of Horrors
What’s not to love about Little Shop of Horrors? Great songs, dancing nerds and a bit of botany made it unique among musicals. Best of all, there’s no sappy ending. An outside performance, it was set to stage in the parking lot of the Brewery Arts Center. Motorcycles cruising by added to the Skid Row ambience.
Karen Chandler, an energetic and enthusiastic redhead, directed the performance. She hand-picked the cast, crew and musicians. There were no auditions; she just pulled out her files and called her favorite people to fill the roles.
“The beauty of it is, I’ve worked with half of this cast since they were 12,” Chandler said.
Domenic Procaccini II played Seymour Krelborn, an anemic, plant-obsessed doofus. He’s a physical actor who exhibited remarkable comedic timing. Procaccini lost his microphone during a stage fall, but he didn’t miss a beat. He projected his voice and drew closer to Audrey (Andie Anderson), feeding his lines into her headset until he picked up a signal again.
Anderson flawlessly filled the role of Audrey with sincerity and humor. Audrey’s a girl with a past who wants her version of the American dream—a toaster, plastic furniture and a botanical genius. Anderson entranced the audience with “Suddenly Seymour.” She’s eye-catching in a tight, low-cut black dress.
Jim Goodwin played Mr. Mushnik, who owns the flower shop. By his own admission, he’s not a brilliant singer. But his acting made up for it. He turned his solo into a comedic exchange with the audience.
Seymour and Audrey convince Mushnik to put an interesting plant in the window to attract business. Seymour names the plant Audrey II and later finds out about her plant food—blood. Until Audrey II made a meal out of him, Rich Garrett, as the semi-sadistic dentist, was a gas—funny and slightly icky.
The overgrown flower required six guys to turn her sideways after she reached maximum growth. Andy Sonnemaker gave her a manly voice. After all, Audrey II’s a plant with authority. She belted out “Feed Me” with flair.
I was impressed by the attention that was paid to the details of costuming and choreography: Audrey’s animal print purse had a tiny pair of handcuffs dangling over the side. Seymour had a tiny bandage on his chin, pink Converse high tops with mismatched socks and tape on his fingers after feeding Audrey II. The doo-wop girls danced and sang with pink fingernails and cans of Aqua Net in hand.
The band didn’t drown out the actors, but it did get downright funky on several numbers. Susan Sonnemaker directed the music.
Not only were the cast and crew in synch, but they were obviously having fun. The first performance hit the stage after only 12 four-hour rehearsals.
The Brewery Arts Center offers a memorable performance of Little Shop of Horrors that’s worth driving to Carson City to see. A sense of community pervades each act, and there’s an intermission raffle for mini Venus Flytraps. Don’t forget to bring a jacket. The wind picked up after intermission, making the outdoor venue a bit gusty.