Sowing seeds of love
Whatever crop you're harvesting this season, drop your clippers and rush over to Gallery Theater to see the most unusual and interesting plant ever in "Little Shop of Horrors."
From its roots to the tips of its leaves, the show is a winner. You'll be charmed by the singing, the background music, the sets and the acting, which achieves just the right mix of melodrama, comedy and pathos. Directed by Adam Ewing, it's one of Gallery's best ever.
And if you don't love it, take your complaints to Audrey II after the show --she'll see that you're satisfied, or at least satisfying.
I really can't say enough good things about Seth Renne's performance as Seymour, the central human figure in the show. His performance is nuanced and sensitive, and his vocals are superb. He's always good at Gallery, but this is his best role yet.
Seymour is a down-on-his-luck orphan who toils long and hard in his miserly benefactor's flower shop. During a solar eclipse, he discovers a new species of plant, which he tends tenderly and names in honor of the woman he loves, Audrey (a winning performance by Tracy Webber; you'll root for her to find her somewhere green).
Audrey II is a cute little plant that quickly attracts both public acclaim and customers. Suddenly Seymour is a success.
His boss (director Ewing, who's just right as Mushnik) is wary of losing his meal ticket, so he offers to fulfill Seymour's dreams by adopting him. The original Audrey fulfill's his other dream by returning his affection.
But not everything is all hearts and flowers, at least not benign ones. Audrey II, begins to demand more than Miracle Gro.
Lucky for Audrey II, although not Audrey: The human Audrey has a sadistic boyfriend for whom the phrase "Drill, baby, drill" is an advertising slogan. Everyone agrees -- especially Audrey II -- that Dr. Orin Scrivello should be pushing up daisies.
Lance Nuttman is outstanding as Orin and several other characters, one of them played in drag. He embraces each role with gusto, and each of his performances is a delight.
Lee Hinton is just right as the voice of Audrey II, too. Talk about performing with gusto!
Throughout the show, a chorus of neighborhood hangers-on narrates the action. Leticia Duran, Lauren Donovan and Cassandra Pangelinan set the scene with their vocals and 50s-style costumes.
Costumes generally fit the era and the feel of the show. The offshoots of Audrey II are funny. It's a bit of a shame the "Dreamgirl" dresses are seen so briefly, though.
The set and lighting work well, creating a sense of foreboding and focusing the action.