Little Shop of Horrors by The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA
March 12, 2019
Review submitted by Caroline Prendergast of Baldwin School
The Shipley School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors incorporated carnivorous botanical beasts, cowardly men, and a catchy musical score into an amusing matinee.
Originally written by Charles Griffith, the story of Little Shop of Horrors is set in Skid Row, New York in the 1960’s, and revolves around a timorous man by the name of Seymour Krelborn. Seymour comes across a strange-looking plant during a total eclipse of the sun, and takes it with him, naming it Audrey II, after his crush. He soon finds out that the plant has an active conscious, and that it needs one thing to live— human blood. As the musical progresses, Seymour goes from a nobody to a horticultural genius, but at the cost of people’s lives and his sanity.
The Shipley School put on a humorous, entertaining adaptation, while also managing to balance the dark, macabre aspects of the musical.
Gavin Rasmussen portrayed Seymour Krelborn with a comical nervousness that added to his original meekness, but simultaneously broke that stereotype with strong vocals. Rasmussen also let Seymour’s inner struggle of not knowing his life’s purpose shine through. Chloe Sobel as Audrey portrayed the blonde as a lovable, but vapid character that supported Seymour through and through. It was unexpected to see a puppet, and not an actor, on stage when it came to the murderous, bloodthirsty Audrey II, which was sonorously voiced by Jonathan Kimmel and skillfully brought to life by puppeteer Casey Goss.
Roger Irwin, as Mr. Mushnik, was bossy and overbearing over Seymour’s small mistakes, but concerned when it came to Audrey’s abusive situation, and was incredibly convincing. In addition, with unsettling moments of maniacal laughter and sadistic tendencies, Daniel Stein’s acting hit the nail on the head as Orin Scrivello, the boyfriend of Audrey.
The costumes done by Riley Dewey fit in well with the time period stylistically, and the hair and makeup designed by Dewey and Gavin Rasmussen added the final touches that each character needed, making the show really blossom. On the other hand, some of the technical difficulties with body mics camouflaged the vocal talent of the cast.
This weekend’s production of Little Shop of Horrors put on by The Shipley School was an enjoyable, spine-chilling experience that flowered into a memorable afternoon.
Review submitted by Aiden Kaliner of Harriton High School
Blooming with dark humor and rooted in greed, The Shipley School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors took the audience on a journey of emotions “Down on Skid Row.”
Based on a movie of the same name, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of an awkward and clumsy assistant, Seymour Krelborn, who works at a run-down flower shop in Skid Row. He comes across a strange plant, later named Audrey II, which he discovered during a total eclipse. As Seymour swoons over his co-worker, Audrey, the plant takes control of his common sense and madness ensues. With 1960’s inspired music by Alan Menken and a book by Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors has been a musical theatre staple since 1982.
At the heart of the show, the group of six Urchins, portrayed as narrators, provided powerful vocals and visually interesting movement. Each clearly created their own and unique character, which worked well in distinguishing one from another. Similarly, the dancing Vines added an exceptional layer to the show in the second act.
Being the star of the show is no easy feat, and Gavin Rasmussen as Seymour enraptured the audience with his talent. His awkward, naive, and captivating energy and acting applied many layers to the multi-dimensional character. Rasmussen’s vocals dominated the stage and left the audience extremely impressed. The dynamic between him and Chloe Sobel (Audrey) was spot on, and the two were enjoyable to watch together, especially in “Suddenly, Seymour.”
With great energy and comedic timing, Daniel Stein as Dr. Orin Scrivello contributed a performance full of laughs and entertainment to the show. As the emotionally unstable dentist, Stein stole the audience’s attention with his fearful interpretation of the character. Roger Irwin (Mr. Mushnik) also provided a delightful and humorous portrayal of the flower shop owner. His vocals and dancing during “Mushnik and Son” were engaging as well.
Most impressive was Caroline Milgram’s choreography. She choreographed the entire show, which added beautiful moments to the performance. The simplicity in some moments and complexity in others contrasted numbers effectively. Also, the hair and makeup designed by Gavin Rasmussen and Riley Dewey complimented all the actors on stage while sticking to the time period. Most notably, the Urchins’ hair and makeup style stood out among the rest.
Little Shop of Horrors at The Shipley School budded with dedication and gracefully depicted “Somewhere That’s Green.”