By Clover Carroll
Think The Shop Around the Corner meets Sweeney Todd meets Alien and you will start to get a feel for Little Shop of Horrors, the rock horror musical comedy to be presented by the Western Albemarle Theatre Ensemble March 8 through 10. A madcap tale of fame, fortune, love, and a man-eating plant, this black humor classic is sure to make your skin crawl even as you laugh yourself to tears. Directed by Caitlin Pitts, with music by Alan Menken in the style of early 1960s rock & roll, doo-wop, and R&B and lyrics by Howard Ashman, the show stars Brennan Reid, Rachel Poulter-Martinez, and Walker Spradlin. This romance-with-a-twist will entertain the entire family and send you on your way with a laugh on your lips and a song in your heart.
Seymour, a timid, down-and-out employee at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist, becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a craving for fresh blood. This singing carnivore (crooning songs such as “Feed Me” and “Suppertime”) soon offers Seymour unlimited fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite (and worse). With a “Greek chorus” of girl-group singers, hilarious songs, and a plant that keeps growing bigger onstage as it devours unsuspecting patrons, Seymour must choose between success and doing what he knows is right—even as his romance blossoms with lovely co-worker Audrey.
The four differently sized puppets used to portray the growing, carniverous plant pose an unique challenge to the production. With two students as the puppeteers and two students as the voice of the plant, all of the lines of dialogue and singing have to be synchronized between these people. This will be the last show for eight Western seniors, including Ian Grimshaw, Anna Webster, and Gabriel Zak, who starred in last year’s smash hit Guys and Dolls. These talented songbirds will be sorely missed!
Support local theater Friday and Saturday March 8 & 9 at 8 p.m., and/or Sunday March 10 at 2 p.m. Adult tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door Student and senior tickets are $5 in advance or $6 at the door. There will also be a preview show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7 for the cost of a donation. Tickets will be sold at WAHS and at Over the Moon Bookstore.
Western is also participating in ArtFest in the West, a local arts fundraiser to be held on Saturday, March 2, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lodge at Old Trail. At this event you can enjoy performances by the WAHS Jazz Band, the WAHS Orchestra, the Henley Jazz Band, a swing-dance lesson, and even selections from Little Shop of Horrors (scheduled for about 8 p.m.). See you at the show!