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Little Shaw of Horrors: Plants Behaving Badly in Graceland’s Homecoming Production
Seymour (Braden Austin), Audrey (Mim Sarre), and Mr. Mushnik (Justin Pontier) examine "a strange and interesting plant"; photo credit Michael Gruich

Little Shaw of Horrors: Plants Behaving Badly in Graceland’s Homecoming Production

Little Shop of Horrors takes root in the Shaw Center this weekend as the 2013 Homecoming production.

The musical, a campy take on the Faust story, follows shy florist Seymour as he finds fame after nurturing “a strange and interesting plant” that he purchased for $1.95.  However, the plant (named “Audrey II” after Seymour’s unrequited love/fellow flower shop employee) has a mind of its own, and Seymour’s life begins to get complicated.

The music, singing, set design, and costuming are great, but it is the cast’s energy and chemistry that really makes this play tick.

Braden Austin, playing the role of Seymour, is at the same time earnest, conflicted, funny, and naive.  Mim Sarre’s Audrey (the first Audrey) is sweet and heartbreaking, especially in her solo numbers.

The cast of Little Shop of Horrors takes a bow; photo credit Michael Gruich

The cast of Little Shop of Horrors takes a bow; photo credit Michael Gruich

Perhaps most memorable, however, is Spencer Bergman’s portrayal of the sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello — pardon me, Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. — which is simultaneously disturbing and hysterical.

Every member of the cast is fantastic in his or her own right.  I lost count of how many characters Martin Mercer plays in one scene.  Audrey II, a team operation, sings and moves with the rest of the cast.  The street-savvy trio, present during almost the entire musical, sings and dances through almost every single song.  Even the winos on the sides of the stage respond with hilariously improvised shock, interest, and horror throughout the scenes.

It is hard to catch everything, and I imagine that I missed quite a bit during the preview showing on Wednesday night.  It’s definitely worth checking out for yourself, though!

Tickets are on sale in the Shaw Center box office.  They cost $5 for students and employees, and $8 for general admission.  There are performances Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, and a matinee on Sunday at 2:00pm.  The Friday show will finish before Airband starts at 10:30pm, so there is no reason to worry!

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Jenna Pitstick

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