The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

Review: ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ quirky fun

DAVE WALKER/special to the VW independent

If you want a good laugh, a good cry, and have your emotions tested, you will not have to drive out of town for it. For the next two weekends (November 6-8 and 13-15) the Lincolnview Theater Department will be presenting Little Shop of Horrors at Van Wert Civic Theatre.

The students have been rehearsing since the end of the fair for this long-running off-Broadway comedy/rock musical. It is an outstanding performance; I advise you to get your tickets soon before it is sold out.

Audrey (Lainie Jones) and Seymour (Skylar Whitaker) share a tender moment during Lincolnview High School's production of Little Shop of Horrors before the mayhem begins. (photo by Dave Walker for the Van Wert independent)
Audrey (Lainie Jones) and Seymour (Skylar Whitaker) share a tender moment during Lincolnview High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors before the mayhem begins. (photo by Dave Walker for the Van Wert independent)

Following the success of Tarzan the Musical, these dedicated young adults want to perform at the highest standards. You will get to see a psychotic dentist, a fun-to-watch man-eating plant, a very lively Greek chorus and a kind of quirky love story with musical performances and great acting.

What I love about the Civic Theatre location is the intimate setting. There is not a bad seat in the house and you feel like you are in the production, along with the performers. The set built by the students and director looks fabulous and I was really impressed with how it turned out. It is very colorful and the lighting brings out every facial expression of the actors, which adds so much to the story. The actor has become the part.

Act I begins with Seymour (Skyler Whitaker), a poor shy lonely orphan who works in a flower shop for the mean-spirited Mr. Mushnik (Chandler Adams). Another lonely person, Audrey (Lainie Jones), works alongside Seymour. They are both shy and kind of have feelings toward each other, even though she is romantically involved with a sadistic dentist (Taite McKinney).

The musical takes place in an area of the New York City called Skid Row at a run-down flower shop. When Seymour finds an exotic new Venus flytrap plant, the laughs start to happen. Seymour loves the attention he gets from the ladies and sees the plant as an opportunity to make the Skid Row flower shop successful. He decides to name the plant Audrey II in honor of the secret love he has for Audrey. But Audrey, who has a low self-esteem, continues to spend time with the psychotic dentist. Both Audrey and Seymour are scared to stand up to the domineering dentist.

Despite Seymour’s loving attention and care, Audrey II appears to be dying. When Seymour realizes Audrey II needs human blood, the mayhem begins. The scene between Seymour and the wacky dentist who thrives on pain about made me fall out of my seat with laughter. I loved the way these two young men interacted on the stage together. Besides the great singing, the timing of the dialogue, the enthusiasm of the actors, and the facial expressions were superb. Now you can guess what Seymour has in mind for the sick dentist.

One of the outstanding cast members I have not described is Audrey II. Yes, you will be entertained by the puppet plant as it grows and eventually talks, sings, and eats people. Together, Braxton Matthews, the voice of the puppet, and Josh England, as the plant puppeteer, will have you in stitches.

There are also some creepy things that happen in and near the flower shop, but in the meantime the audience will be entertained by the lovely Greek chorus, and all of the leads as they sing, dance and move around the stage.

The city dwellers, although kind of different, include Nick Motyka, Louie Crow, Draya Rison, Dylan Neate, Makenzie Kraft, Lakin Clemmons, Kathy Tate, Storm Whitaker, Ashton Hilleary, Jayna Roberts, and Hattie Bouillon. Greek Chorus members include Allison Berryman as Ronette, Ryanne DuCheney as Crystal and Claira Rhodes as Chiffon, supported by Kaylee Hobbs, Miah Katalenas, Angel Proctor and Abby Enhart, who add some extra flavor to the neighborhood in Skid Row.

Dylan Neate is also the stage manager, along with Makenzie Kraft, Hunter Maunz, Noah Daeger (sound), Hayley Pollock (lights), and Jayna Roberts (house manager). Chad Kraner is the director, Stacie Korte is director of music, Dee Fisher as the music accompanist and vocal coach, Kim Pollock is the choreographer, and Kinsey Miller is the set artist. Lou Balyeat, Matt Alessandrini, and Dave Bradford are part of the orchestra.

Tickets are on sale by calling 419.968.2214, extension 3242, or by emailing Plan now on attending this fine production, as there is not a weak link in the cast, crew, or directorship. It will definitely be a time of fun entertainment and a show you will never forget.

POSTED: 11/05/15 at 8:13 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News