ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Little Shop bites... in a
good way, of course
By Nicole Laidler
Little Shop of Horrors
Starring: Duncan Stewart, Cara Hunter and Scott
Directed by: Valerie Moore
The Grand Theatre is kicking off its 2003/04 season with a
rock-musical that bites. Little Shop of Horrors played
to a packed house on Friday night, proving Londoners don't have
to travel to Toronto or New York to see first-rate musical theatre.
The show is equal parts comic-book science fiction, sentimental
humour, doo-wop musical tribute and Faustian legend. It tells
the story of Seymour, a down-and-out florist who lives and works
at Mushnick's Skid Row Flower Shop. His life-long bad luck changes
with the sudden appearance of a mysterious plant, the Audrey
II. What looks like an innocent flytrap turns out to be a bloodsucking
botanical nightmare and that's where the fun and horror begins.
Duncan Stewart plays the nerdy Seymour, who is simply unable
to resist the temptations fate offers him. What's a little blood
when the rewards are fame, fortune and the girl of his dreams,
Audrey, the ditzy blonde shop assistant? Actress Cara Hunter
gives this girl-with-a-past just the right amount of sweetness
to be lovable. Hunter's rendition of "Somewhere That's Green,"
Audrey's expression of her dreams for a matchbox house with
a genuine chain-link fence, is truly moving.
Scott Lancastle plays Audrey's semi-sadistic, motorcycle-riding
boyfriend to Elvis-like comic perfection. A bit more swivel
in his hips would make the illusion complete. Mr. Mushnik, played
by Nicholas Rice and the '60s girl-group chorus, played by Rhonda
Roberts, Amber Cunningham and Tiffany Deriveau round out the
The plant is the real star of the production. Audrey II is
a puppet with personality, brought to life by singer Karim Morgan
and puppeteer Mike Petersen. Tooey, as the plant is affectionately
called, begins life on a windowsill, but grows into a demanding,
willful monster right in front of the audience's eyes. By the
time Audrey II sings "Git It (Feed Me)," it has grown large
enough to take over most of the shop.
Little Shop of Horrors began life as a low-budget
cult movie in 1960. Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard
Ashman turned it into an off-Broadway hit in 1982. Hollywood
remade it into a film in 1986, starring Rick Moranis and Steve
Martin. But don't let Hollywood's happy ending fool you - the
stage production's finale is quite different. Don't feed the
Little Shop of Horrors plays at the Grand Theatre until
Oct. 5. Tickets start at $15. Show times are Tuesday to Thursday,
7.30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; matinees Saturday
and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. For more info
or to purchase tickets, call 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593.