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“Morin, who’s been excellent in smaller parts over the years, brings an enthusiasm and genuine emotional depth to Seymour’s need for affection – from Audrey and Mushnik. He’s a joy to watch, and he’s fully present for every moment – comic, dramatic or musical.
Chameroy sinks his teeth into the role of Orin, playing him like a gleefully bad Elvis impersonation, but he also gets to display a lot of range in a series of bravura quick-change cameos.
Little Shop is getting an off-Broadway revival this fall featuring lots of starry names. But it’ll be hard to match this Stratford production for sheer bloody good times and tunes.”
“There is no weak link in the cast and Menken and Ashman’s quirky songs have never been better sung…
André Morin, in his first major role in a musical at Stratford, gives a superb performance. He is very funny at portraying Seymour as a good-willed but hapless schlemiel. Yet, he allows his character to grow in complexity with the plot revealing such undesirable qualities as greed and vindictiveness alongside budding love…
Matthew G. Brown provides the big bass voice of the fully grown Audrey II with authentic Motown riffs in songs like “Feed Me” and “Suppertime”. Audrey II itself is a fantastic creation that takes up nearly hslf the florist shop and requires four puppeteers (Henry Firmston, Evangelina Kambites, Jordan Mah and Jason Sermonia) working in close coordination to manipulate.”
“The only actor who really earns a place in the audience’s hearts is Epstein, who manages to make the abused and vulnerable Audrey instantly lovable with her earnest, yearning delivery of the show’s semi-satirical ode to the suburbs, Somewhere That’s Green. But even Epstein is directed to treat the macabre climax of her character arc as a can-you-believe-it joke.
Many of Little Shop’s songs are sung by a chorus of African-American “street urchins” played by Camille Eanga-Selenge, Starr Domingue and Vanessa Sears here. While they have excellent voices, and harmonize beautifully, it’s hard to understand who they are or what they are meant to represent. The show is frequently staged like a singing competition, with showing off coming first and meaning an afterthought.”
“In many ways, the real stars of this exuberant production (plagued as usual by body mics but—nice change—no gymnastics in the movements) is the black Greek chorus (Vanessa Sears, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge) who give the show much of its energy and provide the most consistent on-pitch singing of the night.
A close second to the excellence sweepstakes are the puppeteers who painstakingly bring the several iterations of Audrey II (aka The Plant to glorious life and insatiable death: Jason Sermonia, Henry Firmston, Evangelia Kambites, Jordan Mah) wonderfully brought to aural life by Matthew Brown’s dulcet voicing.”
“Gabi Epstein makes the audience root for Audrey. She brings a good-hearted innocence to the role and is captivating when she sings “Somewhere That’s Green.” This number is fascinating in that it is literally just a list of things she wants…and sad, simple things at that…but she is so engaging and her performance is so heartfelt, that she makes us deeply want them for her too…
Also setting the tone, and guiding us along through this bizarre story, are Ronnette, Crystal, and Chiffon, portrayed by Vanessa Sears, Starr Domingue, and Camille Eanga-Selenge respectively. Performing as a Ronettes-type girl group, the three blend well together but each one of them has moments to shine throughout the show. The entire ensemble does well to bring this show to life.”
“At this point in time, it’s not realistic to think of nature leading to humankind’s demise instead of the other way around (really, wouldn’t we all prefer somewhere that’s green at this point?), but it’s fortunate that Stratford is learning to let its hair down and embrace the fun of Little Shop of Horrors. Because the flurry of dances, the spectacle of the puppetry, and the humour of this absurd tale is enough to distract one from thinking about the real dangers that our society poses — at least a giant, singing, bloodthirsty Venus fly trap doesn’t exist.”
“Though I’ve never seen the movie, I now realize Little Shop’s musical numbers are so ingrained in modern culture, not only did I recognize them, I could almost sing along with each one. Luckily for those in the audience with me, I didn’t want to because the performances onstage – be it Audrey (Gabi Epstein) singing Somewhere That’s Green or Seymour (André Morin) and Mr. Mushnik (Steve Ross) singing Mushnik and Son – have been honed to near-perfection…
Though I was initially worried that Little Shop would be a Rocky Horror repeat, the biggest similarity between the two was the amount of fun I had watching them.
It remains to be seen whether this year’s production will experience the same level of success as last year’s, but I do think it has the potential.”
“Dan Chameroy, who stole the show last year as Dr. Frank N. Furter, is back as the evil dentist. Chameroy gives the dentist an Elvis flair, swinging his hips along with his nitrous oxide. He is the first person that Audrey II devours, but don’t worry, Chameroy is back in act two as a myriad of crazy characters. He gets laughs with his skills as a quick-change artist.
Steve Ross is hilarious as Mr. Mushnik along with an excellent ensemble, some playing multiple rolls, and all with perfect comedic timing.”