When you think of dangerous professions, what comes to mind? Soldier? Firefighter, maybe? How about gardener? Plantation High School showcased the perils of the horticultural industry in their production of Little Shop of Horrors, but don’t worry—you’ll be fine as long as you don’t feed the plants.
Little Shop, written in 1982 by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and based off the 1960 movie of the same name, follows an awkward young man named Seymour, stuck in a dead-end job at a florist shop. Seymour is in love with his beautiful coworker Audrey, who is dating a sadistic and abusive dentist. Both Seymour and Audrey believe they will be stuck in their dead-end lives on Skid Row forever, until their lives are turned upside down by a mysterious, vampiric, Venus flytrap-esque plant, dubbed Audrey ll by Seymour.
Plantation’s production was rolled along by its small cast of commanding leads and their authentic onstage chemistry and cooperation. The cast clearly communicated well and understood each other not only as characters but as actors as well. This synchronization carried over into their musical performance, frequently resulting in clean harmonies.
Samantha Angrisanio captured every audience member with her sweet and consistent characterization as Audrey. Her enormous, powerhouse voice, showcased in the rollercoaster riffs of “Suddenly, Seymour”, took over the theater. Evan Balikos provided appropriately awkward charm as Seymour, countered by his smooth vocals. Meanwhile, the audience needed no laughing gas to be rolling on the floor at Mohamad Atallah’s darkly comic turn as Orin Scrivelo, the sadistic dentist.
Bringing an inanimate set piece to life is no easy task, but it certainly seemed like one in the capable hands of Bradley Auguste, the voice of Audrey ll. Auguste’s performance was simultaneously hilarious and terrifying at times, as he cracked jokes between sips of blood. At times throughout the performance, ensemble energy seemed lacking, and ensemble members occasionally seemed unsure of why they were onstage. Although as a whole the cast worked together phenomenally—resulting in some very impressive spur-of-the-moment ad-libbing—certain relationships seemed stuck a level or two beneath the point they needed to be.
Skid Row was brought to life with striking attention to every graffitied brick and each wilting flower. Scene transitions, however, seemed to take a bit longer than necessary at times, and crew members onstage detracted from the occasional scene. While the performers were generally audible, microphones cut in and out frequently and, through the combined effort of a faulty mic and under-enunciated words, certain actors were rendered unintelligible at times.
Plantation High’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors charmed the audience with all of its bloody, man-eating, sadistic appeal. Despite sound issues and some lapses in ensemble energy, the cast of Little Shop succeeded in transporting the audience to somewhere that’s green.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun