REVIEW: Barn’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ offers up a rousing good time
The Barn Theatre continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary season of classic theatre with a relatively new classic, "Little Shop of Horrors." Director Nikki Bettcher Erickson again demonstrates her prowess for working with a larger cast, giving...
The Barn Theatre continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary season of classic theatre with a relatively new classic, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Director Nikki Bettcher Erickson again demonstrates her prowess for working with a larger cast, giving us a visually appealing and thoroughly enjoyable production.
The production elements are quite striking in this show: Aane Twedt’s Brooklyn set is impressive, evoking the feel of the city, while making excellent use of space and providing a highly functional environment for the show. Shannon Eckhoff’s costumes are spot-on, and her attention to detail is impressive, down to the stockings of a street lady, played by Cheryl Schmidt.
Pauline Prawl’s choreography fits the show nicely, uses the space well and enhances the campy feel of the show. Especially notable is the quality of the singing, directed by Nicole Dyson. Not a clunker in the bunch, and they even sing in their Brooklyn accents. Supporting all this is the band, under the leadership of keyboardist Craig Kimmerle.
Randi Larson’s performance as Audrey is complete - well-sung, well-acted, complete with the classic, nasally Brooklyn accent. Brent Roelofs captures Seymour’s bumbling, loveable nature in an energetic performance. As Mr. Mushnik, Brad Schmidt provides a gruff counterpart to the naïve sweetness of Audrey and innocence of Seymour.
Worked by puppeteer Trevor Eckhoff and voiced by Bill Bannon, the star of Little Shop of Horrors is Audrey II, the alien plant that grows and grows, soon taking over - and in some cases, taking in - the lives of those around her. The two capture Audrey II’s insidious demeanor very well, both in movement and in the deep, rough tones of Bannon’s voice.
The Doo Wop Girls - Gretchen Otness, Jessica Bays, and Sandy Watters - give us a flash of the girl’s groups of the 50’s and 60’s, blending strong vocals with appropriately abrasive characters, adding a nice flair to the show.
Surrounding the core characters is a talented ensemble including Tim Ostby, Heidi Ahmann, Cheryl Schmidt, Michael Cola, Ben Watson, Carrie VanderBeek, Alice Lindgren, Jordan Tetzloff, Bri Nordby, and Annie Schaefbauer. Drew Benson is especially noteworthy due to his multiple roles played in multiple genders.
Given the combination of a strong artistic staff and a strong cast, it’s no surprise that “Little Shop of Horrors” provides an engaging evening of well-done theatre.
Review by Keith Green ,an instructor at Ridgewater College. Keith has directed numerous productions at Ridgewater and The Barn, most recently The Barn’s December production of “A Christmas Carol.”