by Lorie Lewis Ham
Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.
The first thing that struck me when I walked into the Ice House in Visalia to see Little Shop of Horrors this weekend was the amazing set! It was all done in gray tones like a black and white movie! So it already set the scene for me to enjoy the evening.
Little Shop of Horrors is a comedy, horror, rock musical by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman. It features a down on his luck flower shop worker named Seymour whose fortune changes when he raises an unusual plant that turns into a man-eating monster. The music has a fun 60s rock, doo-wop style to it. Some of the more familiar songs are “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green,” and “Suddenly, Seymour.” There is also the grumpy shop owner, the beautiful Audrey who is Seymour’s coworker that he has a crush on, and Audrey’s horrible dentist boyfriend Orin. Well and of course the plant itself is a main character of the show and Seymour calls it Audrey II.
This show is a bit dark and twisted, yet funny. It’s very reminiscent of the old 50s, campy, black and white monster movies. The amazing set designed by Mike and Elicia Russell gradually adds bits of color as things go wrong for Seymour. This transformation is also seen in the props and costumes. It perfectly sets and reflects the mood of the show.
Seymour is played perfectly by Sean Hopper. Seymour is an innocent, geeky, sweet young man who simply wants to win the love of the beautiful Audrey. He is so sweet that it’s hard to hate him for letting the plant talk him into doing awful things later in the show. Sean is adorable as Seymour and I love his voice. Lindsay Tweed, who plays Audrey, hasn’t been on stage since high school, but you would never know it. She plays Audrey as an innocent dumb blonde, reminiscent of Marilyn’s Monroe’s movie roles. Audrey lets her evil boyfriend beat her and treat her terribly because she doesn’t think she deserves anything better. Lindsay also has a lovely voice. Auggie Hernandez does the voice of Audrey II. He has a deep, beautiful voice, and does a good job of bringing the plant to life–along with the help of the puppeteers.
Sergio Garza plays the flower shop owner Mushnik, and Henry Gonzales plays the evil boyfriend with a nice dose of creepiness. There are also a trio of girls with lovely voices who sing a lot of songs throughout the show, and a few ensemble actors that play various roles.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the director of this show, Corey Ralston, as I’ve seen enough theatre to know how important the director is. This show was a last minute replacement for another show, yet he managed to bring it all together nicely into a fun show. It was a brilliant move on his part to have the band located behind the wall of the set as it provided one of the best blends of instrumental and vocal performance I have ever seen–far too often in musicals the band drowns out the singers.
If you are looking for a fun night at the theatre, some great singing, and you prefer something a little bit different, and your comedy a little darker, be sure to head out to Little Shop of Horrors. This is closing weekend so get your tickets now!
For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.
To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLTFM in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website Ticketing information page.
You can find more theatre reviews and entertainment articles in KRL’s arts & entertainment section.