On Saturday, Hofstra’s Department of Drama and Dance opened Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s cult rock musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”
The show is about Seymour, played perfectly by senior Richie Dupkin, a loveable geek who pines for Audrey, the bleach-blonde with low self-esteem – played equally as well by senior Sofie Koloc. The two work at a flower shop run by Mushnik (Andrew Salzano). The store is down on its luck, but Seymour has a trick up his sleeve: the Audrey II, a killer Venus flytrap (voiced by Mason Sansonia). As the plant brings fame and fortune to the shop and Seymour, it also becomes meaner and hungrier. What Seymour doesn’t know is that the plant has its own tricks up its leaves.
As a whole, the cast was amazing. They were high energy and convincing throughout the show, especially Koloc, whose interpretation of the down-on-her-luck Audrey made you root for her and want her to end up with Seymour.
Koloc and Dupkin have amazing chemistry on stage. The audience really feels as though they are meant to be. They created a really tangible, but very shy and coy chemistry.
Kolco and her abusive boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. (Justin Chesney), are a little less convincing. Chesney does not look like he can beat up Audrey to make her stay with him; in fact, it looks the other way around. This leaves the audience confused as to why Audrey would stay with such a man when she has sweet and loving Seymour right there. However, I must give Chesney props for playing about six characters throughout the show.
As for the ensemble, one standout was the trio of girls: Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette. Played by Caroline McFee, Dana Mastrull and Tatiana Montes, the soulful R&B group sings riffs that can send shivers down your spine. Another standout is the hilarious Andrew Salzano as Mushnik. Salzano and Dupkin’s scene “Mushnik and Son” is laugh-out-loud funny and probably the highlight of the first act.
The second act is overshadowed by the carnivorous Audrey II, quite literally. The plant was so big, you don’t know where else to look besides its weeds and leaves. But no matter how big the plant was, it couldn’t overshadow the show-stopping love song “Suddenly Seymour.” Perhaps the most famous song from the show – besides the opening number – “Suddenly Seymour” was done with humor and tenderness, the way it should be.
After that number, the show started to slow. Around “The Meek Shall Inherit,” I just wanted Seymour to kill the plant and be done with it. Luckily the end was near and the show didn’t drag on with a lengthy second act.
All in all, the show was enjoyable. It isn’t a horror musical, but a light comedy with some horror aspects. It is a great show to watch for enjoyment and a few laughs.
“Little Shop of Horrors” will be playing at the Playhouse Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m.