Cohasset Dramatic Club’s comedy horror rock sci fi musical, Little Shop of Horrors, offers two very important life lessons. Don’t feed the plants and everyone’s life should be narrated by a streetwise, Greek chorus. Punctuated by the sweet, sassy sounds of female Greek chorus trio Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronnette, Cohasset Dramatic Club opened its 98th season with Little Shop of Horrors in all of its zany, outrageous glory on the Cohasset Town Hall stage in Cohasset, Massachusetts continuing through Sunday, November 18. Click here for more information and tickets.
Little Shop of Horrors, based on John Cullier’s short story Green Thoughts from 1932, has gone on to become a cult classic, with actors such as Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, and John Candy stepping into its various film adaptations. A remake is in the works as it celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2020.
It’s a seemingly simple tale about young love on Skid Rowe in a fledgling flower shop that houses a curious, unique breed of plant. Some critics compare it to the campy tone of the another cult classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Little Shop of Horrors offers a more subtle brand of campy charm.
The show has a gift for funny, ironic contrasts right down to the bright, cheerful set design by Mark Bono with scenic artist Denise Feeney. An ode to vintage 50s films of its time, Mr. Mushnik’s beautiful and pastel Floral Shop front seems hardly a place that belongs on Skide Row or Gutter as the name of a bar. With few exceptions, the music, with lyrics by award-winning composer Alan Menken, has a catchy, rock n roll vibe, some tunes an ode to 60s girl groups. From plaids to shimmering gowns, Colleen Craig as Chiffon, Michelle Margulies as Crystal and Cara Lee Chamberlain as Ronnette form a taut, humorous, street-smart trio, unveiling the real ins and outs of Skid Rowe through harmony, kicking it off with the catchy, signature track, Little Shop of Horrors.
With a distinctive, comedic voice and dark reading glasses, Jonathan Markella is a natural as Mr. Mushnik. Shrewd, sensible, and a bit dour, Markella’s take on the firm, yet fidgety Mr. Mushnik is a memorable one. He showcases his comedic chops best with Jordan Reymolds as Seymour in the clever number, Mushnik and Son.
With black glasses and a sweater vest, Jordan Reymolds is splendid as Seymour, a sympathetic, conflicted botanist. With a bit of a crackly speaking voice and a light city accent, he is ever the shy, unassuming nerd that actor Rick Moranis stepped into in the 1986 film adaptation. He shines in the darkly tender number, Grow for Me and his awkward adoration for Audrey, portrayed with stylish, effervescence by Adina Lunquist, exudes comic charm, at one moment he’s hoping to take her to “a fancy dinner at Howard Johnson’s.” Linquist is wonderful, her silvery soprano vocals carrying a lullaby or a soulful belt with equal skill. She shares her simple, 50s domestic dreams in Somewhere That’s Green and with Seymour who deliver a powerful rendition of Suddenly Seymour.
Brendan Smith rises to the occasion playing several roles including the outrageous, narcissistic biker dentist. Having portrayed The Monster in Young Frankenstein, his pliable, animated features master a multitude of roles in stride.
The real spectacle is Audrey II, the sly soulful plant that changes everything. With deep, soulful, animated vocals that harness a bit of Elvis and Robin Williams and skillfully manipulated by Mike Nakashima whose theatre history includes a part in Cohasset’s Avenue Q, Audrey II is an impressive specimen right down to its shiny, dangling teeth.
Directed by Lisa Pratt, Cohasset Dramatic Club presents Little Shop of Horrors through Sunday, November 18 at Cohasset Town Hall, 41 Highland Avenue in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Click here for more information and tickets. Learn more about Cohasset Dramatic Club by following on their Facebook page.