Musicals have always brought impossible dreams to life on stage, from cats that can talk to humans who can sing in public without feeling weird. Escape from reality with this GrouponLive deal to see Little Shop of Horrors, presented by Fighting Chance Productions at Jericho Arts Center. Choose from the following options:
- For $20, you get two tickets to the matinee performance on Sunday, October 21, at 3 p.m. (up to a $40 value).
- For $30, you get two tickets to one of the following evening performances at 8 p.m. (up to a $60 value).
- October 12
- October 13
- October 16
- October 17
- October 18
- October 19
- October 20
- October 21
- October 23
- October 24
- October 25
- October 26
- October 27
A mild-mannered flower-shop employee encounters fantastical terror and a moral dilemma in the classic R & B musical Little Shop of Horrors. When Seymour Krelborn discovers a small venus-flytrap-like plant during a solar eclipse, he becomes fascinated by it and names it “Audrey II,” after his coworker and unrequited love interest at Mushnik's Skid Row Florists. It quickly becomes apparent that Audrey II hungers for a fertilizer more macabre than manure: human blood. Suckling at Seymour's pricked finger, the plant grows larger everyday, eventually demanding more than just a few drops of plasma. Audrey II convinces a reluctant Seymour to only feed it terrible people who, according to the plant, "deserve to die," including Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend, Orin Scrivello. But as the corpses pile up and Seymour deals with the ethically questionable source of his fame and newfound romance with the human Audrey, he must decide whether he should take a stand or continue to nurture the plant's hunger and ominous ambitions.
Known mainly as a singer-songwriter these days, Kerry O'Donovan dons the bow tie and Coke bottle frames of the hapless Seymour to end his seven-year hiatus from the stage. Up-and-coming actress Melissa Clark plays Audrey, and Nick Fontaine comes fresh off a stint as Ritchie Valens in The Buddy Holly Story to provide Audrey II's buttery bass vocals.
In terms of spectacle, the star—or stars—of the show are the ever-larger series of puppets that play the ravenous Audrey II. As the body count grows, so does the plant. It starts out as a hand puppet operated by the actor playing Seymour, then gradually becomes a stage-dominating jungle with moving vines and a human-sized maw filled with teeth.
Little Shop of Horrors is anchored by Alan Menken's jubilant R & B score, which offsets the grim onstage deeds with doo-wop and Motown-tinged tunes. Three female vocalists named after '60s girls groups (Ronette, Crystal, and Chiffon) serve as a sort of Greek chorus, providing a running commentary on the proceedings that begins with the titular swinging ditty. Later on, they join in on “Dentist!,” Orin's boastful ode to being "the leader of the plaque" and his career in causing pain. In “Somewhere That's Green,” Audrey admits to a dream of running away to the suburbs with Seymour. “Feed Me (Git It)” is arguably the musical's best-known song, wherein Audrey II reveals “her” ability to speak and makes the sweet-tempered shopkeep an offer he can't refuse.
Little Shop of Horrors is unique in that it was based on another version of the story and also went on to spawn several new incarnations itself. It was first seen as a campy, nonmusical Roger Corman film, which showed the plant only speaking a few words and featured Jack Nicholson in one of his first roles as a masochistic dental patient. The musical took on a more cohesive tone and omitted many of the quirky characters found in the movie (including Nicholson's). It served as the basis for the star-studded 1986 film of the same name, a creative endeavour that went on to become a smash hit on video and garner two Academy Award nominations: one for Best Original Song ("Mean Green Mother from Outer Space") and one for Best Visual Effects. The latter came as no surprise, given that the movie was directed by puppetry legend Frank Oz. In 1991, Oz conceived a short-lived animated television series called Little Shop that toned down the horror and reimagined the story as taking place in high school. Seymour was an outcast, Orin was a bully, and Audrey II was a friendly plant who sang rap songs instead of R & B.
Jericho Arts Centre
1675 Discovery St.
Vancouver, BC V6R 4K5