The dreary weather did not stop people from coming out to see ESU’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” Saturday afternoon. From scene one, the audience was howling in a fit of laughter. The show featured music recorded and performed by ESU’s musical theater students, dancing, comedy, drama, romance and of course a man eating plant.
The play opens with a prologue from the three “Urchins” who act as the voice of reason and narrators of the show. Together the Urchins, Crystal, played by Destiny Deshawn, Chiffon, played by Victoria SIlva, and Ronette, played by Abigail Witt, had a harmony that demanded respect.
The characters start off inside the flower shop that is on the brink of closing down. The set of the shop consisted of rustic bins, brick walls caked in grime, windows smudged with finger prints and flowers- both limp and lifeless that illustrated the dying flower shop.
We are introduced to the characters Seymour Krelborn, played by Sam Kashefska, Audrey, played by Angelica Ramirez, and Mr. Mushnik, the shop owner played by Joshua Weidenbaum. Each character was in full 60’s attire, Seymour in checkered pants and a sweater vest, Mr. Mushnik in a suit and Audrey sporting a cheetah print skirt, red blouse and a black eye from her boyfriend who makes an appearance later in the show.
Unlike Mr. Mushnik, Seymour and Audrey could not accept the fate of the shop. Seymour rushes into the back of the shop and comes back with a Venus fly trap plant he names (in his undying love for Audrey) Audrey II.
This “strange and interesting plant” brings more attention to the shop and sets the plot into motion.
The song “Skid Row (Downtown)” featured most of the actors, and they interacted with the front row of the audience. One of the actors who played a homeless man during the scene begged for a sip of my friend’s water. Another women in ratty clothes and ripped tights looked me in the eyes and told me “come on, just five dollars.”
For every customer Audrey II brought in it seemed to grow twice in size. Eventually it got a mind of its own and craved one thing: blood. Seymour offered some of his own, a little prick here and there, enough to keep Audrey II happy and the shop open.
However, eventually Seymour’s blood would run out, and animals did not do the trick.
Enter Audrey’s boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, played by Dontel Ducksworth. Orin is a motorcycling riding, leather jacket wearing, sadistic dentist. When he wasn’t inflicting pain on his patients, he was hurting Audrey, and Seymour had enough of it.
Ducksworth did an amazing job at making the audience hate him.
Never in my life did I crave plant-eating murder more.
Eventually, after overdosing on his own laughing gas, Orin died and Seymour fed his bloody limbs to Audrey II as the audience gasped.
The plant became the answer to Seymour’s problems. Even corrupt, Seymour held the heart of the audience.
In the end, it was Audrey II who had the last laugh. The plant ate all the main characters including Audrey, Mr. Mushnik and even its creator Seymour.
For the final performance, a majority of the cast members came together for their final song, “Final Ultimo,” that gave the audience an important message: Don’t feed the plants.
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