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THEATER REVIEW: “Little Shop Of Horrors” is a hoot at Cygnet Theatre

The new girl in town is 7 feet tall and 6 feet wide – and does she ever love to eat!

Yep, Audrey II is back at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florist (aka Cygnet Theatre) until Sept. 11, screaming “Feed me!” and generally causing both havoc and merriment.

The camp horror favorite “Little Shop Of Horrors” boasts a fine cast directed by Sean Murray, a great set by Sean Fanning, Shirley Pierson’s terrific costumes and a boffo five-piece band directed by Tim McKnight.

You remember the story: Mr. Mushnik (local funnyman Phil Johnson) is about to close the starved-for-business flower shop when nerdy employee Seymour Krelborn (Brandon Joel Maier) suggests they put a variation of the Venus Flytrap in the window to attract interest.

Seymour is sweet on fellow clerk Audrey (Melissa Fernandes), but she’s hanging out with dentist boyfriend Orin Crivello (Geno Carr), whose occupational sadism mirrors the abuse he heaps on Audrey. But Seymour names the new plant Audrey II after her anyway.

It works beyond Seymour’s wildest expectations – but Audrey II turns out to be a very hungry girl indeed, and quickly graduates from drops from Seymour’s finger pricks to a need for human flesh.

The show is a hoot, and this production does it justice and then some – the color scheme is black, gray and white with two exceptions. The three Urchins (Rhea Elizabeth Armas, Cashae Monya and Heather Paton) serve as Greek chorus, and get to wear lots of red, silver and sequins.

And of course, the puppets that are Audrey II, described as a cross between a Venus Flytrap and an avocado. She is green and yellow with an amazing red, red mouth that can swallow anything. Audrey is here (in four stages of growth) courtesy of Monkey Boys Productions of Pennsylvania.

The cast flings itself into the silliness of this show with great abandon, none better than Fernandes, whose portrayal of Audrey steals the show. Fernandes has great comic flair and boy, can she belt out a tune. She’s fab.

But that’s not to slight Maier’s adorably nerdy Seymour or the Supremes-like Urchins or Carr, who wonderfully plays several characters with different accents in addition to Orin.

Special kudos to David McBean, who plays several characters but whose most important role is the voice of Audrey II, and to puppeteer Jacob Caltrider, who manipulates the plant.

Every now and then, inspired silliness is in order. This is one of those times. Slake your thirst for goofiness in Cygnet’s splendid “Little Shop Of Horrors.”

The details

“Little Shop Of Horrors” plays through Sept. 11 at Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. in Old Town.

Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 3 and 8 pm; Sunday at 2 and 7 pm.

For tickets call (619) 337-1525 or visit HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.