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14 Nature

ReInvented p. 16

Volume 3, Issue 19 • September 16–29, 2011• San Diego Uptown News

Audrey II is the unqualified star of Cygnet’s current production in Old Town

By Cuauhtémoc Kish SDUN Theater Critic

“Little Shop of Horrors” has been campily produced countless times since its suc- cessful Off-Broadway run in 1982. Presently, Audrey II, a plant who is the unqualified star of the show (Jacob Cal- trider is the puppet handler while David McBean manages the vocals), is demanding to be fed to satisfy its blood hunger at the Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. As the oft-repeated story

goes, there was a strange and unusual plant that was born in the unlikely side streets of New York’s Skid Row during a total eclipse of the sun. Audrey II promised its keeper (Sey- mour/Brandon Joel Maier/


Sat 2 & 8 p.m. Sun 2 & 7 p.m. 619-337-1525

nebbishy on target) an op- portunity for fame, fortune, and even love, if he kept his promise with this dastardly devil plant that sings out some lively rhythm and blues notes throughout the show. Director Sean Murray

directs his cast with an eye and an ear to vintage black and white horror films, film noir, and some very bad B-movies of the past. With those influ- ences in mind, Sean Fanning designed a monochromatic grey set that is offset by not only the colorful Audrey II, but by Shirley Pierson’s grey and black-inspired costumes

OF HORRORS” Through Oct 2 Cygnet Theatre Wed & Thurs 7:30 p.m. Fri 8 p.m.

Brandon Joel Maier as Seymour and Melissa Fernandes as Audrey. (Photo by Daren Scott)

that adorn most of the cast members. James Vasquez has the

most fun as choreographer for the Supremes-inspired Greek Chorus that helps tell the tale


The musical that became a movie and started a 35-year nonstop cultural phenomenon is back where it is meant to be seen— live on stage! A sexy, wild,

funny, tongue-in-cheek interactive time warp through a kaleidoscope of camp with a musical score that has become

iconic—one show- stopper after another! FOR MATURE AUDIENCES


of a plant that needs an ever-in- creasing fix of blood on its way to take over the world. Tim McKnight gets a positive nod for directing music (as well as his six musicians) originally composed by Alan Menken and with lyrics by Howard Ashman.

As the story about poverty

and misery and the price one has to pay to leave them both behind unfolds, we run into the shopkeeper Mr. Mushnik (Phil Johnson/delightfully creepy), Audrey (Melissa Fer- nandes/physically buxom and hitting all the right notes), and the versatile Geno Carr who plays several roles including the sociopathic D.D.S. The Doo-Wop street urchin

chorus includes Rhea Eliza- beth De Armas, Cashae Monya and Heather Paton. They hold their own as a trio, and indi- vidually.

Standout numbers include “Mushnik and Son” with Maier and Johnson, “Now” with Carr, and “Suddenly Seymour” with Fernandes, Maier, and the Chorus.


Puppeteer Jacob Calrider should be praised for keep- ing the man-eating plant in lovely form throughout the production, especially since the air-conditioning system on opening night (to be remedied shortly) was not in full-blast performance. McBean’s vocals were inconsistent on opening night, but that should be rem- edied as the run proceeds. Sean Murray’s production (50 years after “Little Shop” began as a Roger Corman B- horror film) hits all the right noir notes with a splendid com- pany of actors and technicians, and his Cygnet Theatre should be packed with patrons for the extended summer run.u

(from left) Sydney James Harcourt and Matt McGrath. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

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