Satire, horror and sci-fi are tied into one for The Clarice’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The tale of greed, romance and desire shined at the University of Maryland, with an exquisite set, talented performers and compelling music.
Little Shop of Horrors had its opening night on Friday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Presented by this university’s theatre, dance and performance studies school, the show will run for one week.
The musical tells the story of a nerdy flower shop assistant, Seymour Krelborn, who lives and works on Skid Row, a rough neighborhood in New York City. Seymour works for Mr. Mushnik, the flower shop’s owner, and has a crush on his co-worker, Audrey. After the shop suffers from slow business, Seymour has the idea to put an exotic plant he bought at the market in the window, hoping to attract customers.
Seymour names the plant Audrey II, after his crush, and soon discovers that the plant needs fresh human blood to survive. At first, Seymour feeds Audrey II small amounts of his own blood, but the plant gets too big to survive on just that. Seymour decides to feed human Audrey’s abusive boyfriend to the plant, as well as Mr. Mushnik once he finds out that Seymour killed Audrey’s boyfriend.
The plant grows and grows, next attacking Audrey. Seymour saves her from the plant, but is not in time to save her life. Audrey dies and Seymour feeds her body to the monstrous plant. Finally, the plant eats Seymour, and supposedly goes on to make baby plants, spreading to more cities. Audrey II “eats” the audience in the end as well.
Little Shop of Horrors is a cautionary tale about greed and desire. While the musical is dark, it is also satirical and funny. The cast and director did an incredible job of making the musical bleak, but not depressing; it didn’t leave the audience feeling sad. The funny and enchanting cast balanced, and brought light, to the musical.
The role of the main character, Seymour, was perfectly played by Andrew Saundry. He was awkward and weird with a nasally voice — spot on for his nerdy character. Erin Valade played the role of Audrey with a brilliant voice throughout the musical. The songs performed with the whole ensemble were powerful, especially the three chorus girls that helped tell the story.
The incredible set featured neon signs, fences and detailed backdrops that made the area feel like a real city. It was fun to look at and attention-grabbing. The lighting was very well done — coming full circle for the ending as flashing green strobe lights lit up the audience while Audrey II eats them.
The musical was an impressive showing of some of this university’s best student performers. The lightning, the sets, the music — all reiterated how great The Clarice is. If you are ready for a lively rendition of a classic tale, go see Little Shop of Horrors this week.