Review of Little Shop of Horrors at the Kirkwood Theatre Guild

    The Kirkwood Theatre Guild assembled a splendid cast for its production of Little Shop of Horrors, the highly popular musical with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. The show is based on the 1960 film of the same name directed by Roger Corman.

    The main character is Seymour Krelborn, a nebbishy clerk in a skid row flower shop where business is terrible. The owner, Mr. Mushnik, decides to close the shop for good after a day with no customers. To save the shop and his job. Seymour suggests putting a strange and interesting plant in the window to attract customers. Seymour acquired it during a total eclipse of the sun and called it Audrey Two. He gave the plant as the other clerk in the flower shop, with whom Seymour is secretly in love. The original Audrey is in an abusive relationship with a sadistic dentist named Orrin.

    Strangely enough, the plant ploy works. The first person who sees Audrey Two in the window comes into the shop for a closer look and ends up buying a hundred dollars’ worth of roses.

    Unfortunately, Audrey Two isn’t healthy. Seymour has no idea what the plant needs until a rose’s thorn punctures his finger. The blood from his wound revives Audrey Two. Seymour’s fortunes rise while he keeps Audrey Two well fed, but the plant’s demands for food outgrow Seymour’s ability to satisfy them.

    The Kirkwood production has accomplished singing actors in every part. Under Gregory Theron’s direction and Sean Bippen’s musical direction, the cast members interpret every role convincingly and sing every number impressively.

    Michael Baird as Seymour and Sarah Polizzi as Audrey have a great rapport. They exhibit the same sort of social and physical awkwardness. It marks the characters out as people who deserve sympathy and ought to be together.

    As Orrin, Alec Hatchell revels in the dentist’s love of causing pain and pulls no punches in his abuse of Audrey One. Kyle Morr’s Mr. Mushnick is a sly, conniving abuser when he takes advantage of Seymour.

    Nick Greenland brings a commanding personality and a rich sound to the voice of Audrey Two. Sam Ghering is the plant puppeteer. Kymora Gentry, Adrienne Spann, and Tychirra Moreno are delightfully smart and sassy as the skid row denizens who function as a kind of Greek chorus. The strong ensemble includes Aly Chisum, Aaron Fischer, Bill Nolan III, Hannah Piehl, Rachel Puleo, Nancy Weaver, and Nicholas Wolf.

    The show is enhanced by Robert Crenshaw’s choreography, Zac Cary’s set design, Kayla Dressman’s costumes, Stephanie Robinson’s lighting, Russell Sides’ sound, and Dereis Lambert’s props. The members of the fine band are Sean Bippen, Karla Curry, Jason Weaver, Vince Clark, Kevin Walsh, and Tim Clark.

    Little Shop of Horrors continues through October 30 in the Kirkwood Community Center’s Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 South Geyer Road.

    —-Gerry Kowarsky

    Photo by Dan Donovan,
    From left, Michael Baird as Seymour, Kyle Morr as Mr. Mushnick, and Sarah Polizzi as Audrey in the Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s
    Little Shop of Horrors.