Hilarious 'Little Shop' Is The Perfect Halloween Theater Experience

By: Amy Tagliaferri

Matt Kohler and Isabelle Archer with Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.” ABBY FEINSTEIN PHOTO

 

For Halloween this year, forget about fiendish clowns, cackling witches or even the scary state the world’s in. Escape to the theater on Division Street in West Harwich where you’ll meet Seymour and his mysterious plant with the insatiable appetite. The production of “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Cape Cod Theatre Company, home of the Harwich Junior Theatre, is a creepy yet funny experience, the perfect All Hallow’s Eve outing!

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the one-two music and lyrics duo of Disney musical fame, wrote this hilarious musical in 1982, based on Roger Corman’s 1960 black comedy-horror film. There’s doo-wop music and unrequited love along with a sadistic villain, a Yiddish-screaming boss, a very disturbing plant and more in this outlandish show.

What an incredible cast! The doo-wop girls who open the show and captivate from beginning to end (Julia DiPreta, Shauna Condon and Sophie Clingan) were as good as any trio from that era. They harmonized like a dream and executed Suzette Hutchinson’s fun and funky choreography brilliantly. The theater’s technical director Matt Kohler taps into his acting chops as Seymour and the talented Stella Wolf is unrecognizable as Mr. Mushnik. Wolf’s first lines make you giggle followed by out loud laughter anytime she’s on the stage throughout the show. Kohler is delightfully nerdy and charmingly clumsy; it’s easy to see why the doo-wop girls fall for him yet see that he belongs with his secret love, Audrey (Isabelle Archer), co-worker at Mushnik’s flower shop. Archer’s performance touches you with a crystal clear voice on the poignant “Somewhere That’s Green” and the powerful “Suddenly Seymour,” and then makes you chuckle with her hilarious New Jersey-like accent. She and Kohler’s innate chemistry is a highlight of the production.

If Seymour’s plant, the Audrey II doesn’t scare you, Orin the dentist certainly will! Ari Lew’s over-the-top portrayal is fabulous, and he actually made me cringe and squirm as he drilled on a patient (Doug Sivco). Sivco plays multiple roles all with aplomb. And last but certainly not least is omnipresent Audrey II, superbly voiced by Heidi Cloutier and skillfully executed by puppeteer Shiloh Pabst. “Feed me!” she bellows. “Suppertime!” she sings.

Technical triumphs abound in this show from Byrne’s lighting (carried out skillfully by Steve Carter, lighting operator) and set design (back stage crew Rachel Simmons), J Hagenbuckle’s sound design (nailed by sound board operator and stage manager Abby Feinstein) and tech director Kohler’s contributions. Musical director Robert Wilder and his band, hidden but heard, were also great. Francis Covais Lautenberger’s costume design and puppet-making skills were the icing on the cake.

Call and make your reservation today, this two-hour show with an intermission is sure to sell out quickly. Find out what that Little Shop of Horrors is really all about!

DETAILS

"Little Shop of Horrors"

At Cape Cod Theatre Company, home of the Harwich Junior Theatre

Through Nov. 26, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.; Thursdays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. No Matinee on Nov. 19.

Information and reservations: 508-432-2002 ext. 2 or www.capecodtheatrecompany.org