By Karen Isaacs
Just in time for the scary season on Halloween, ACT of Connecticut in Ridgefield is presenting a fun production of Little Shop of Horrors through Nov. 3.
It may not be a perfect production, but it has enough quality performances and attributes to make it an enjoyable afternoon or evening in the theater.
Does everyone knows the history of this show – from a low budget John Waters cult movie, to off-Broadway, back to film and then to Broadway itself.
Part satire and part camp, it tells the story of a floundering flower shop on Skid Row and Seymour the young clerk with an interest in unusual plants. He finds one, a type of flytrap plant, but there is just one problem: it doesn’t want flies, it wants human blood. A vampire plant.
It’s unusual appearance and its growing size soon attracts hordes of people and the media. The shop is suddenly a huge success, but at what price? Seymour is becoming anemic feeding the plant and the plant – named Audrey II is becoming vocal and demanding. It’s also growing huge.
Of course, there are other complications – Seymour is in love with Audrey the other employee who is involved with a sadistic dentist who regularly injures her.
In true horror story fashion, there are some gruesome death and revelations about a plot to take over the world.
Any production of this show walks a fine line between satire/camp and being too over-the-top, pushing too hard. This production, directed by Jason A. Sparks crosses the line at time. It is so exaggerated that it is hard to be involved in the characters, who truly are people we should care about.
Daniel C. Levine played the role of the dentist Orin in the Broadway production. Here, he’s reprising the role of the sadistic, drug addicted dentist and in the second act a variety of other characters. He certainly seems to relish the role, but the characterization is so larger-than-life, that the horror aspects are diminished.
Robb Sapp is a sweet Seymour and Laura Woyasz a waiflike Audrey. The best numbers in the show are the ones that are done simply with real emotion – “Somewhere that’s Green” and “Mushnick and Son” which features Seymour and the shop owner.
In a gesture to the Supremes, three young women – Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette offer back up and commentary.
Everyone is always interested in how Audrey II will be presented. Puppeteer Thomas Bergamo does make her unusual. Kent Overshown is the voice of Audrey II; yes, she does begin to speak.
Once again ACT and sound designer John Salutz has over amplified the show. Not only is it loud, but the words sung by the trio are incomprehensible.
Yet despite my reservations, fans of the show will have good time.
Tickets are available 475-215-5433 or ACT-CT.