Little Shop of Horrors by Lindenwold High School in Lindenwold, NJ
March 28, 2017
Review submitted by Trinity Pike of Upper Merion Area HS
Folks stuck in Skid Row would kill for something green, whether a four-leaf clover, a dollar bill, or a bloodthirsty exotic plant. When the latter arrives in the ramshackle flower shop, life promises to transform rags into riches for one small price: human lives. While exploring the macabre possibilities, Lindenwold excellently combined dark comedy and explosive energy in their production of Little Shop of Horrors.
In the iconic cult rock musical, one clumsy, soft-spoken employee named Seymour nervously offers to turn the tables for Mr. Mushnik’s bankrupt flower shop. The gawky amateur botanist breeds a unique flytrap species that begins to demand human blood. Originating as a 1960 black-comedy film, the morbid story became a musical thanks to the green thumbs of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
Lindenwold’s rendition added to the quirky charm of Little Shop with an innovative use of space and sharp characterization. Soloists strutted through the aisles, Mushnik’s flower shop rolled across the stage, and Skid Row’s crooked, grimy windows became picturesque suburban images for “Somewhere That’s Green.” The diverse ensemble featured impish urchins, curious bioscientists, and glamorous superstars. Stunning costumes added to the effect, changing rapidly with each character transition.
Conner Basallote’s portrayal of Seymour was just as distinct. Between anxious fidgeting and horrified hyperventilating, Basallote rendered the geeky florist especially endearing. His co-worker and love interest, Audrey, was just as adorable. Brandi Flem played the timid, reluctant sweetheart, giving each of her songs an ethereal tone. “Suddenly Seymour” was a soft, loving duet combining the two shy voices.
Brazen characters such as Mr. Mushnik, Orin Scrivello, and Audrey II contrasted their bashful counterparts with deliciously dark, harsh delivery. As Mushnik, Sayf Mouhamed captured the character’s wild desperation with wide gestures and a consistent accent. The madness in Gaelyn Kelly’s lines made him a captivating Scrivello, putting his all into savoring the abusive privileges of a sadistic dentist. Kelvin Wilburn commanded the stage as Audrey II, boldly psychopathic through his powerhouse number “Mean Green Mother.”
Often accompanying the leads were The Ronettes, a versatile ensemble consisting of Kya Williams-Custis, Jiovani Arias, and Cirah Kay. As no-good ragamuffins in the first act, the girls confidently contributed beautiful three-part harmonies, crisp choreography, and sassy ad-libs to a number of songs.
The Ronettes were clad in an array of fabulous, multipurpose costumes. The Sudden Changes Crew led costuming with incredible sophistication and innovation. White coats turned into glittery prom dresses, and sultry red skirts into jean jackets. Set design lead by Lura Good was just as aesthetic. The flower shop looked a neglected children’s playhouse, and Skid Row was a graffitied garbage dump, which added dimension and context to the show. Puppeteering and stage transitions were swift and natural. Balancing fifteen mics was a challenge, but the sound board persevered to make line delivery and sound effects stable.
Overall, Lindenwold’s production was a marvelous treat. Creativity defined their production of Little Shop of Horrors, allowing the company to plant smiles throughout the audience.
Review submitted by Lizzie Stricklin of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Despite the show’s horror movie roots, Lindenwold High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors kept the audience laughing until the final curtain in an entertaining and innovative performance.
Based on a low-budget 1960 horror film of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors became a musical sensation after premiering off-Broadway in 1982. Featuring music by Alan Menken, the dark comedy tells the story of clumsy floral assistant Seymour Krelborn, who discovers he can achieve fame and fortune with the help of a man-eating plant.
Due to its eccentric nature, Little Shop of Horrors is a show known for its props, set, and dark humor. With a talented crew and amusing performers, Lindenwold High School’s production exceeded these expectations by also incorporating inventive costumes and sound effects.
The cast was led by Conner Basallote, who provided a pure-hearted innocence to the role of Seymour. Opposite him as the voice of Audrey II, Kelvin Wilburn displayed his stellar vocals and charisma in his unexpected onstage appearance.
Kyra Williams-Custis, Jiovani Arias, and Cirah Kay also kept the energy high as the Greek chorus of narrative urchins and had the audience rolling in their seats with their hilarious improvisations. Laudable acting was also found in Sayf Mouhamed as Mr. Mushnik and Gaelyn Kelley as Orin Scrivello, who energetically stayed true to their characters.
Perhaps the most impressive aspects of Lindenwold’s production were the technical elements. The well-constructed movable set, depicting Skid Row with a ‘90s grunge aesthetic, set the campy tone of this show. Although some of the leads were hard to hear, the sound management team proved commendable by not only controlling over a dozen microphones but also by managing numerous sound effects. The two small Audrey II puppets worked flawlessly and even surprised the audience by appearing to grow larger. Nevertheless, it was the quick change gowns worn by the street urchins that left the audience speechless. These handmade outfits, which appeared at both the beginning and end of the show, displayed the creative prowess of the Sudden Changes Crew to design both beautiful and pragmatic costumes.
Through the combination of an energetic cast and stunning technical visuals, the cast and crew of Lindenwold High School demonstrated their green thumb for cultivating a fun and entertaining performance.