Dual Critics Review: Little Shop of Horrors at Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

February 19, 2018

The Alhambra Theatre opened the 2nd show of its 51st season with the classic “Little Shop of Horrors” the l982 Off-Broadway musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken which in turn was base on Roger Corman’s l960 movie. It has remained very popular over the years after running for five years in New York. This show run through March 25 20l8, call 641-1212 for reservations. The Alhambra is located at 12000 Beach Blvd in Jacksonville Florida.

This is the story of a nebbish flower shop guy Seymour (Benjamin Smith) who unknowingly cultivates an “unusual” new plant that brings him good fortune and wealth to the skid row shop owner Mr. Musnik (Tony Diettrick). The plant though is a growing demon and determined to devour mankind. Along the way Seymour falls in love with fellow employee bubbly-blonde shop girl, Audrey (Jessica Booth) after she finally is rid of her, macho happy-go-lucky sadist boyfriend Dentist Orin (Daniel Robert Sullivan).

The plant that grows into big root-stomping vegetable is known as Audrey II has the deep marvelous voice of Rendell Anthony DeBose. The puppeteers or manipulators of Audrey II are hidden somewhere in that massive plant are Luke Holt and Victoria Miller. You won’t get to see them until the curtain calls.

The final three characters are the Skid Row Girls made up Greek chorus contingent that sang and narrated some of the show included Linzy Lauren (Chiffon), Sarah Sanders (Crystal) and Meka King (Ronnette) and can these lovely ladies really seen the foot stomping Doo-Wop music?

Director/Producer Tod Booth has assembled an outstanding cast from top to bottom. His daughter Jessica who grew up on this stage and who we recall seeing as Tiny Tim many years ago is now a New York based actress and just completed a one year on a cruise shop as singer in “Aida”. Benjamin Smith and Tony Diettrick are both veterans of previous Alhambra shows. Daniel Robert Sullivan is making his Alhambra debut Daniel Robert Sullivan besides playing the dentist, made several quick cameo appearances as business men trying to capitalize on this big plant’s popularity.

Set Designer Ian Black has created the picture perfect run down florist shop in a poor section town, in addition has added an entrance to the left and a small dentist office to the right. The floor in front of the store is a park used to a lot by the displaying the fancy footwork of the Doo-Wop girls.

In case you have never seen the show, there is a surprise ending that we won’t reveal here but we can guarantee you will be tittering and laughing out loud at the witty and wild musical that has fifteen songs that are such great fun. Yes, it is an outrageous comedy but one that earns your undivided attention for a hilarious two hours, don’t miss it.

Chef DeJuan has cooked up an excellent menu and we can recommend Seymour’s Salad , Garlic Parmesan-Roasted Chicken Breast with jasmine rice, broccolini and roasted tomato or Lamb Ossobuco with faro risotto roasted Brussels sprouts. For dessert the mango pie or the triple chocolate cake. Made you hungry? Right?

PRODUCTION STAFF
Tod Booth (Director/Producer), Shain Stroff (Choreographer/Stage Manager), Cathy Murphy Giddens (Musical Director), Jereme Raickett (Assistant Director), Camala Pitts Dorinda Quiles (Costume Designers), Daniel Dungan (Lighting Design) Linnay Bennett (Sound Design) David Dionne (Technical Director) Lisa Valdini Booth (Company Manager), Julia Fallon(Wardrobe Supervisor) Patti Eyler (Properties)

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

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