Finding solace in the slums of Skid Row this month, the Lower Ossington Theatre brings us yet another production of Howard Ashman’s classic tale of terror. While the essentials that aesthetically made Little Shop of Horrors what it is are there, this production doesn’t necessarily provide its audience with anything particularly new or interesting.
For those who are unfamiliar, Little Shop of Horrors is the story of Seymour (Hugh Ritchie), a timid yet compassionate employee of Mushnik’s Flower Shop, who stumbles upon a “strange and interesting plant” one day that changes his life forever. As the story progresses, Seymour finds that the plant lives off of the blood of human beings, and as the plant continues to grow, so does its incredibly aggressive appetite…
The size and stature of the theatre space really does seem appropriate, considering the context of the play. Confined to the street corner of Skid Row, where Mushnik’s shop is so carefully framed centre stage, the space is limited, though used incredibly well. As the play begins, it is revealed that Mushnik’s Shop is, in fact, a moving set piece that rotates when a character makes their way inside. The setting changes from an outdoor slum to the warm interior of the flower shop as characters walk in and out of the building.
The performances, though each one effective in its own right, don’t seem to come to together as fluidly as they could. Each member of the chorus trio make for a vibrant and effective presence on stage individually; as a unit, they seem slightly out of sync at times. The performance that seemed to shine the most was Ritchie’s. The contradictory nature of his character, who is fighting his shyness with perpetual paranoia, really did provide much of the humour in his relationship with Mr. Mushnik, played by cast mate Andrew Soutter.
Definitively speaking, I’d say that if you were looking for a fun night out with the family, this show is definitely one that could deliver, though for die-hard fans of the musical itself, it may fall short of satisfactory.
Little Shop of Horrors will be playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre every weekend until May 14. For more information, visit https://lowerossingtontheatre.com/.