[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
When CenterStage chose to present Little Shop of Horrors, there was no doubt that theater-goers would be treated to a fantastic evening.
Set in a Skid Row flower shop (and one must wonder if there really are flower shops on Skid Row), the human characters are all a bunch of losers. With few customers, the flower shop owner, Mr. Mushnik (Rusty Henle), is ready to close up shop permanently. His two employees don’t have much going for them either. Audrey (Lauren McCombs) keeps getting beaten up by her dentist boyfriend and Seymour (Chris Bryant) couldn’t stand up for himself for anything. All three gave credible performances.
The real star, however, was Audrey II. The odd little plant that Seymour finds seems sickly at first until the young worker discovers what it needs to grow and thrive: blood. As the play progresses, Audrey II grows from a tiny plant hand puppet, to a monster puppet that requires two people (Nick Duet and Brian Bowles) to manipulate. But the Audrey II’s character really came out in the Voice. Booming and resonant, Rush Trowel really made this bloodthirsty plant come to life.
I can only hope that Trowel will be back with CenterStage again soon so we can all enjoy his dulcet sound – maybe with a human face.
Kudos to the entire cast and Artistic Director John Leffert for a job well done.