Audrey II is Back and Bloodthirsty as Ever

Vanessa Aguirre

Keeping with the alluring feeling of the original “Little Shop of Horrors,” Thursday’s performance of one of the longest running off-Broadway plays had me wrapped in its spell.

As the crowd made its way into the auditorium, blood red curtains hanging in front them, one could feel the opening night excitement in the air. After everyone settled in, the lights dimmed and a voice overhead told the audience of what was yet to come.

The curtains opened and the first number “Little Shop of Horrors” began to play and the lovely doo-wop girls took the stage. This number was the perfect opening and set the tone of the musical pieces to come.

Joined by a wonderful live band the company then took the stage to perform “Skid Row (downtown)” which showed off the very talented cast. The overall performance exceeded my expectations and vocally set the standards for the rest of the production.

Other numbers including, “Somewhere That’s Green” and “Feed Me,” featured the main characters Seymour, played by Greg E. Lewis, Audrey, played by Lindsey Conway, and Audrey II, played by Leisa Onzo.

Although both Lewis and Conway have a wide vocal range, Onzo steals the show. Her powerhouse vocals, although not featured in most numbers, is a mix of a sultry and R&B sound that is captivating to say the least.
There are few musicals as lively and fun as “Little Shop of Horrors.” Its humorous subject and irreverent view on feeding people to a monstrous plant, is, against all odds, touching. The songs have the feel and sound of Broadway production numbers crossed with Motown tunes, and the lyrics are both melodious and satirical at times.

“Little Shop of Horrors,” set in 1960, tells the story of an outcast named Seymour who lives on urban skid row. He was taken in by Mr. Mushnik the owner of a run down flower shop, where he lives and works.

When the flower shop is close to shutting down, Seymour tries to help by bringing a strange and interesting plant into the shop to help business. Seymour then goes on to tell about how he came to find the plant that seemed to appear out of nowhere, during a total eclipse of the sun.

The plant found was a strange and unidentifiable type of Venus fly trap he named Audrey II seems to be the answer to their prayers. The plant brings in many customers and gives Seymour instant fame. But when the plant won’t grow, Seymour finds out the bloody price he must pay.

The plant’s thirst for fresh blood takes Seymour on an emotional roller coaster, offering him fame and in essence the love of his coworker Audrey.

As the story unravels further Audrey II keeps growing, thanks to Seymour’s constant pricking of his fingers, she soon becomes this ill mouthed creature that seems to have poor Seymour wrapped around her vine. Seeing that Seymour is giving her what she wants, Audrey II then tries to cox him into murder.

Seymour is then faced with an ethical dilemma: Will he give in to the sultry stylings of the now hard to resist Audrey II, or will he do what’s right and kill the plant before it’s too late?

The story’s upbeat numbers and small dance pieces are a genuine delight and the cast’s contagious chemistry make it hard not to watch. For those who were fans of the movie version growing up, this production does not disappoint. All technical difficulties aside, the great vocals, sets, puppet work and general acting were very enjoyable and for that reason I give this production 4 out of 5 stars.

“Little Shop of Horrors” plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p. m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information call the theater department at (818) 240-1000 ext. 5612.