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Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Monday, July 30, 2001

Little Shop of Horrors

at St. Lawrence Stage Company, Brockville, ON, Thu., July 26 through Sat., Aug. 18, 2001

The St. Lawrence Stage Company has another winner with their production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. From the time you walk into the theatre it's just plain fun. Director Adam Furfaro has come up with some great clips from old science fiction movies to use as a pre-show which move smoothly into projections of the opening credits.

The set is impressive and the costumes are spiffy. Both are designed by Brenda Guldenstein, who obviously has a good sense of humor. I especially liked the Trio's gloves in Act II.

Speaking of the Trio, all three are very good singers who are perfectly capable of handling the tough harmony. All their numbers sound good and their blend is great. Their acting is not too shabby either.

Something unusual for rock and roll - you can understand all the lyrics-not only theirs but pretty much everyone's even on "It's the Gas". This is due partly to the excellent Musical Direction of Steve Thomas whose terrific band is uncredited in the program, and partly to Bob Snelgrove's sound design, again with the operator uncredited.

I do have a small kvetch. Audrey II's voice, really well done by P.J.Ingram, needs a little more boost on the musical numbers, as some of the "Feed Me" and "Suppertime" lyrics are muffled. I mustn't leave out Wilson Wong, the puppeteer for Audrey II, who does well with a tough job.

Director Furfaro has decided to add cast members to eliminate some doubling and provide a singing and dancing chorus. I didn't think I'd like the change, but I do. Michelle Carbery's lively choreography is well danced by herself, Sarah Daurie, and especially Jeff Dimitriou and Christopher Wilson. It's exciting to see really good dancers who can go well beyond the box step. Mr. Wilson also does a fine job with a number of small roles.

The show as a whole is extremely well cast. Terry V. Hart and Jim Soper, both of whom I've seen in other productions, have really hit their stride in this one. It's the best thing I've seen either of them do. Their duet, "Mushnik and Son", is a riot. As Seymour, Jim Soper adds some nice touches, such as unobtrusively taking off his glasses during the big romantic ballad.

Shannon McCaig makes an excellent Audrey who's thoroughly believable in her nuttiness. Her rendition of "Somewhere That's Green" is really lovely. She, like Mr. Soper, never plays the role for laughs and as a result they're both not only very funny, but also touching.

And then there's Bobby Prochaska as Orin, the S and M dentist. He's attractively wicked and great fun to watch. I have to say the dancers are wasted in his "Dentist!" number, as everyone's eyes are on Mr. Prochaska. His scene and duet with Seymour provide a rousing Act I climax.

Stage Manager Alison Peddie gets a special nod for her perfect calling of all the clock cues. Oh - another small kvetch - the curtain call, although entertaining, seemed a bit overextended.

It's obvious I'm having to reach to be critical, so let me just congratulate Mr. Furfaro, Mr. Thomas, the cast, crew, musicians and design team. They've put together a delightful production of a show that's a real crowd pleaser. The St. Lawrence Stage Company's production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS gets four and seven-eighths maple leaves. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.

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