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Cappie Review of Penn Wood High School’s Little Shop Of Horrors

Where else can you find struggling street urchins, a blooming romance, and a strange and unusual plant that costs $1.95 but Penn Wood High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors!

With the ’60s style rock music of Alan Menken and the tight script of Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors recounts the down-on-his-luck orphan Seymour Krelborn, who unknowingly buys an otherworldly plant with a craving for blood. Greed and ambition slowly take root in his heart after the promise-spouting sprout tempts him with fame and fortune for the price of human flesh. Desperate from the impoverished lifestyle of a 1960s Skid Row florist and pining for his co-worker Audrey, Seymour agrees, falling for the plant’s lies, leading him to his doom.

Penn Wood’s production was filled with life and passion overall, with all members of the cast portraying their characters’ quirks with charm. Whether the spotlight was on the deliciously malicious Audrey II or the cheekily humorous Street Urchins, every actor did their part to bring Skid Row to life, and eventually, death.

Showing the plight of the awkwardly in-love botanist, Seymour (Gabriel Beckett) added an air of realism to his performance, ensnaring the audience’s attention and emotions with every song. Though committing undoubtedly unfavorable acts of murder, Seymour’s sympathetic character shone through, keeping the viewers rooting for him throughout the show. Audrey (Morgan Askew-Green) brought an emotionally gripping and lovely performance, further enhancing the show through her strong vocals and accurate New York accent the character is known for. The two had exceptional chemistry, their infatuation with each other culminating in an enchantingly romantic performance of “Suddenly Seymour.”

Acting as a narrating Greek chorus and sassy side characters, Ronnette (Erinma Ebo), Chiffon (Samiah Fatokun), and Crystal (Jada Payton) brought life into Skid Row with their bombastic energy and harmonious vocals, especially so in ensemble-driven numbers such as the titular song and prologue, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Audrey II (given life by the voice of Idrees Streater and puppeteered by Violet Schleigh) offered a new definition of “green energy” with Streater’s lively performance and distinctly deep voice. Whether bargaining with Seymour for his supper in “Feed Me,” or munching on Seymour’s beloved, this flytrap-like puppet was a first-rate rendition of the famous character. Playing the amusingly sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello (Emmanuel James), the character brought out raucous laughter, reminding everyone what tragedies can befall their teeth if they don’t floss.

The set primarily featured the interior of Mushnik’s florist shop, becoming increasingly adorned with vines and flora as the impressively built Audrey II grew in size. Though at first struggling with mics and warbling audio, Penn Wood pulled through in the second act, doing justice to the actors’ strong vocal performances. Another complementary technical aspect was the student-designed lighting, making use of spotlights and dramatic colors to accentuate the emotions in each scene. 

Through and through, Penn Wood High School’s production of Little Shop Of Horrors took on the technical challenges of the show with a mean green puppet and outstanding vocals, entertaining and educating the audience about the tribulations of greed.


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    Serafina KuberskyFeb 29, 2024 at 8:36 am