When I entered the theater at North Lincoln High School, I was about to experience a unique execution of “Little Shop of Horrors.” As the curtains drew back along the vast stage, the plant shop and streets of Skid Row filled the space. Unfortunately, the scene seldom changed throughout. The static set gave the audience nowhere to focus except on the actors, who faced the challenging task of holding our attention.
With the first "bop-doo-wop" of the musical, I worried if all the singers would be able to carry a solid tune. Many of the voices were not quite fit for the parts, yet some of their sound troubles were due to microphone issues. As voices traveled through layers of feedback, I was distracted from the show's other aspects.
The cast was unable to transport me fully to Skid Row, due to lengthy scene changes in which the main rag would close for no reason. Yet I managed to believe in the characters they aimed to depict.
Davis Nodine accurately portrayed psychotic dentist Orin Scrivello. His booming laughter and creepy lines proved astoundingly effective. Though several actors struggled to meet the classic portrayals of their roles, Joey Nuhfer epitomized nerdiness and innocence in his performance as Seymour Krelborn. Throughout his time on stage, he maintained a charming allure.
Above all, the man-eating plant Audrey II (Nathan McArthur) absolutely stole the show. The plant continuously awed me with its increasing size. Such a monstrous set piece could have been sloppily built, yet it was nothing of the sort. Not only was its structure magnificent, but McArthur captured the audience with his fantastic low voice and smooth sound.
Chiffon (Macie Belk), one of three female singers who provide transitions between scenes, enthralled me with her sass and enthusiasm every time she danced onto the stage. Though she was not a leading character, she stood out among the other girls, with her unbroken smile and magnetism.
In the finale, foliage hung from the catwalk made me feel as if Audrey II and the actors were closing in on me. The final catchy tunes and jazzy dances wrapped up a perky performance that made up for many of its minor flaws.
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