‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Delights Audiences

The BHS Bison Theater presented Little Shop of Horrors on March 11-13. This comic and horrific musical tells the story of Seymour, an orphan who works in a plant shop.

Life in the plant shop is sadly quiet until Seymour’s new exotic plant, the “Audrey II,” brings business to the shop but also terror as the plant begins to feed on human blood. As the plant grows bigger, it continues to terrorize everyone in Seymour’s life, including his central love interest Audrey and the plant store owner Mr. Mushnik.

In Beachwood’s production, senior Ian Ward plays the role of Seymour. Senior Alexia Roush, junior Julian Landes and senior Jonah Kaminsky also have central roles as Audrey, Mr. Mushnik and the voice of the plant.

The musical opens with three street urchins, played by senior Megan Wooley, junior Catherine Mayer and sophomore Ja’Niya Rahman, who serve as narrators throughout the musical. They immediately break out in song, creating a three-part harmony as they dance around the stage.

The movement of actors around the stage was particularly effective throughout the play.

Drama club adviser Marc Chalice says that blocking can be one of the most difficult aspects of a production.  

“This is when the directors and the actors work together to figure out where and how they should move about the stage,” he said.

“Everyone has to keep in mind the audience’s perspective, telling the story through movement, physical relationships and making it visually interesting,” he added.

Whether it was the three urchins reappearing throughout the play to move the story along or the sadistic Orin, a deranged and psychotic dentist, they masterfully supplemented their singing with masterfully fitting movement.

Each of the main characters had wildly different personalities, and the actors played their roles exceptionally. The plant was aggressive and boisterous, while Seymour had a more timid, indecisive manner.

The most interesting part of voicing the plant was seeing how all of the adaptations of the plant voice would come together with my own take in order to form my own version.

— Senior Jonah Kaminsky, voice of Audrey II

“One of the most difficult parts about playing Audrey was the difference between me and her personality-wise. She is very ditzy and naive, whereas I am more reserved and laid-back,” Roush said.

“I also had to put on outfits I would never usually wear and learn how to speak in a New York accent. Audrey was very much a character role for me,” she added. “However, that was also one of the most fun things about it.” 

The singing was another highlight of the production. Roush’s voice, especially during her solos, was exceptional. Her use of vibrato was distinct throughout the middle and end of the play, as the drama and tension of the story reached a peak.

As the dentist, freshman Michael Karas had an incredible performance as well. His role seemed incredibly difficult to pull off, as he sang while also acting high on laughing gas.

Particularly notable were Ian Ward’s and Jonah Kaminsky’s strong harmonies. The mix of Kaminsky’s lively and raspy interpretation of the plant with Ward’s increasingly bold voice was an amazing blend of talent.

In preparing to voice the plant, Kaminsky researched many previous productions of Little Shop of Horrors.

“The most interesting part of voicing the plant was seeing how all of the adaptations of the plant voice would come together with my own take in order to form my own version,” he said.

“I took inspiration from the 1986 film voice of the plant, the Broadway version and some other musical versions and added my own flare to it, as I thought it would be cool if as the show went on, the voice got raspier and deeper with the plant’s growth,” Kaminski added.

The set was also an important supplement to the performance. The shop, the plant and the Dentist’s office were detailed and added to the atmosphere and mood of the show. In particular, the plant was well done, with different versions of various sizes to signify its growth and a few versions also functioned as puppets.

Overall, the play was incredibly entertaining to watch, a perfect mix of horror, comedy and talent.