Friday, 30 July 2010

The Little Shop of Horrors (30th July 2010)

Yay, I'm going to see The Little Shop of Horrors at Hutt City Musical Theatre tonight!! This is a musical I've not heard of or seen before so rather excited to find out what it is all about :) Jono said it is a story of an alien plant that blossoms when fed human blood. Hmm, musical with alien plant? Sounds odd...this I've got to see to make sense of it...

A quick stop at Burger Fuel in Lower Hutt on High St for dinner before the show. Rush, rush! We will be heading up to Palmerston North tonight after the musical as Jono has his rehearsal for his upcoming show Jesus Christ Superstar (this is a Palmy production) in the morning so we were running on tight schedule after work, going home to pack, grabbing a quick bite and off to see The Little Shop of Horrors at 8pm. Cost us $27.50 each and like the last musical production I've seen at this theatre (i.e. Cabaret – The Musical), it was cabaret-style seating and the audience were allowed to bring along their own food and drinks to the tables. It was a full house tonight (well, it was the 2nd to last show for this production – the show has been running since the 15th of July) and we were seated with another couple near the front of the stage whom Jono knew from one of his previous shows.

The Little Shop of Horrors turned out to be a rock musical with a mix of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music, more a high school-type musical rather than musical the likes of Cats or Phantom of the Opera (no such grandeur). Instead of having the pit (area where the band played) at the side or down the front of the stage, an additional platform was built shaped like a box, an extension of the front stage where the actors would be able to walk around with the band players boxed in the middle. This musical production was directed by Stuart James, the same guy who fantastically played the role of Emcee in Cabaret – The Musical although he did not perform this time round, which I was quite disappointed to find out. Hmm, I suppose you can’t really be the director AND a performer at the same time :/

The story of the musical was about a young florist named Seymour (played brilliantly by 19-year-old Jared Pallesen – he portrayed the character of a young, nerdy-looking hapless chap and sung very well) working in Mushnik’s flower shop on Skid Row (Downtown) who raised a plant that resembled a Venus flytrap he named Audrey II in honour of his work colleague Audrey (played by Serena Daysh) whom he was secretly in love with. Little did Seymour knew that Audrey II was no normal plant and having tried all ways and means to make it blossom, nothing worked until he accidentally pricked his finger on a rose thorn and Audrey II opened its pod thirstily. A few drops of blood and the plant thrived, soon became an attraction, generating substantial fame and fortune for the shop. The plant grew bigger and bigger as time passes (different sizes of the plant were placed on stage and the plants were ‘alive’ like puppets) but Seymour was finding it hard to provide enough blood to keep Audrey II happy (band aid on all his fingers!). During the night, the plant would cry ‘Feed me! FEED ME!’, taunting Seymour to find him fresh blood (the plant does not take meat from the butchers, picky little s^%t!), implanting ideas into Seymour’s head to find him humans that deserve to die. But who? No one deserves to die! Well, maybe one…and that person was Orin the sadistic dentist (played by Jeff Bell) who was Audrey’s abusive bf (this character was a blend of Elvis Presley and a bad-ass from Grease – the hair, the dance moves and tight leather pants – you know what I mean). Though Seymour had all intention to kill Orin, he just couldn’t go through with his plan. Lady luck was on Seymour’s side as Orin ended up gassing himself with nitrous oxide to death (he only wanted a bit of the gas to get him ‘high’ before extracting Seymour’s teeth but the helmet of the gas device was stuck) and Seymour watched him cry for help and die laughing from the gas overdose, then cut up his body to feed Audrey II! Evil, EVIL!!

A short 15-minute interval and the show continued on, now Audrey II getting even bigger! Mushnik (played by Chris Green, who was also the voice of Audrey II) found out that Orin’s disappearance was Seymour’s doing and urged Seymour to turn himself in but was briefly distracted when Seymour told him that the day’s earnings was hidden inside Audrey II. It’s a trap! Mushnik was chomped and swallowed by the beast of a plant when he tried to uncover the money, reaching deeper and deeper into the massive gaping mouth of the plant. It was cool though because Mushnik ‘disappeared’ sliding into the massive cushioned plant. I would love to slide down the plant too – it looked very comfy hehe :)

When Seymour learnt that Audrey would still love him without his fame, he promised himself he would destroy the murderous plant after his interview with LIFE magazine. Audrey, who overheard Seymour’s ramblings, was worried about him so went to see him at the shop at night but Seymour was out and she found herself alone, faced with the talking plant who begged her to water him. No, don’t go near it! The plant was chomping on Audrey as Seymour rushed in to save her but she was so badly wounded she asked Seymour to feed her to the plant after she’s gone so that part of her will always be with him. Aww, poor Seymour...he was absolutely devastated…

Some salesman came the next day asking Seymour for leaf cuttings of Audrey II to sell them across the country and Seymour suddenly realized that this was the plant’s evil plan all along – the plant had caused the solar eclipse and came to conquer Earth! He tried to kill the plant by shooting at it with a gun with no success, then attempted poisoning it with rat poison, and finally used a machete to rip apart its jaws only to be eaten alive. The salesman returned later that day to find no Seymour and helped himself to leaf cuttings, spreading Audrey II all over the world. Well, you can pretty much assume a sad ending where everyone dies…

The show ended around 10pm and I have to say, it wasn’t as good as I had expected. Given it was the 2nd to last show, the cast still didn’t quite hold it together well. Don’t get me wrong, the 4 main characters (Seymour, Mushnik, Audrey and Orin) were very good in their roles but I think it has something to do with the sound system – there were parts of the musical that were harsh on the ears, mostly when Audrey was speaking in her super high-pitched voice, or when the doo-wop girls – characters Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon who sang throughout the show, commenting on what’s happening – were singing (they seems to be trying to outdo one another in voice rather than singing together). There were also several background characters which oddly only appear now and then with not much singing. Were they really needed?? Hmm, perhaps give it another week or so and the cast would perform much better…Gee, I sound like a musical snob now! Well, perhaps I’m a bit of a snob in that only musicals my bf performs in would I see them as awesome musicals haha! True given I’m a big supporter of my man but we also enjoy watching musicals together (ones he’s not in). I AM looking forward to see him perform in Jesus Christ Superstar next month :)

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