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Play Review: 'Little Shop' an inspired choice

Play Review: 'Little Shop' an inspired choice

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Director Don Correll's choice for LCC's first summer musical turns out to be inspired.

Not so much in content — "Little Shop of Horrors," although a cult classic, is campy, gruesome, and set to forgettable music.

It's what the local actors, musicians and technicians have done with this darkly comic rock musical that makes it a delicious treat. Every effort is strong across the boards.

It starts with casting and directing, and plays out in the set, the acting, singing and dancing, and the unobtrusive, lively 5-piece live band.

Maybe I'm getting old, but there's so much energy in this show! It's nonstop in the dialogue, music and the way the set looks, moves and encloses the action. Even the choreography is witty.

If you do not know the premise, Mushnik's Skid Row Florist shop is a flop.

Phillip Kennedy as Mushnik tucks every Jewish stereotype into his shopkeeper, schlump-walking, muttering in Yiddish and channeling Tevye like a tease.

The loser botanist Seymour, played as gentle and hapless by Dylan Disch, pines for Audrey, who's dating a guy who gives her black eyes and breaks her arm. It's a cheery musical.

Kylee Gano provides some of that cheer as the disaster-prone Audrey. She gives her character a sweetness while keeping her interesting and real.

When Seymour accidentally sows a strange plant and names it Audrey II, all hell grows loose.

The three main (human) characters are very strong. They stay in character. Their delivery is quick but not muddied or rushed. And like the entire cast, you can feel the fun they're having.

Backing them up are a trio of 1960s dollies with song and dance interludes and a chorus of a street people who glide among the action and populate the neighborhood with various characters.

The doo-wop trio coached by LCC vocal instructor Gina Osborn is vastly entertaining. Each can ably belt out a song. And they have their moves down pat, thanks to crisp period choreography by LCC dance instructor Megan Jasurda.

If you used to thrill to the Temptations doing their thing, you will love Miranda Sitch, Katie Jansen and Kylie Rose as Chiffon, Ronnette and Crystal.

I especially liked the way Jasurda backed up Audrey in the "Suddenly Seymour" number with the doo-wops plus three women from the chorus, lined up in choir robes on either side of the stage.

In a musical score that can seem singsongy, "Suddenly Seymour" is a highlight.

All this action is set in the flower shop, with its off-kilter windows and doors and walls that become mammoth vines and tendrils. The moody, cool set was designed by Michael Kohlmeier.

Two more special treats are the plant and the dentist.

The puppets that are Audrey II were designed by Martin Robinson and used in the Broadway production  LCC rented them.

In the LCC production, Audrey II is under (or on top of) the skillful operation of puppeteer Seth McNally, theater director at Kelso High School.

One more treat you will not want to miss.

Stephen Hamilton gets to sink his teeth into Orin, the sadistic dentist-biker who is Audrey's abusive boyfriend. According to cast notes, Hamiton in real life is headed to the University of Washington to study biochemistry.

More power to him. But given his wicked chemistry on stage, he'll always have something to fall back on.

"Little Shop of Horrors" is not appropriate for little kids. It continues in the Wollenberg Auditorium at 7:30 Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. $10 general, $8 senior citizens and non-LCC students, free to all LCC staff and students.

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