A strong cast of singer-actors brings sci-fi rock musical "Little Shop of Horrors" to life this weekend in the Wood Auditorium at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County. Director Jami Steele, the FAC’s director of education and theater, brings out the best in the 20 performers, including newcomers and seasoned actors, for this Camden Community Theater production.
Zack Gurley, who has grown up on the CCT stage and was always a standout in children’s productions, is just right as Seymour Krelborn, the meek florist assistant, who finds a very unusual plant after an eclipse of the moon. Seymour names the botanically intriguing little wonder Audrey II after his co-worker crush Audrey – not knowing the plant will grow and grow and grow into the creepy, carnivorous cultivar at the center of the cautionary tale.
For a while, Audrey II is satisfied with drops of Seymour’s own blood, but eventually goads Seymour into doing "more bloody awful things…."
Kim Scott, who recently moved to Camden, is a welcome arrival to the FAC stage. Playing the bleached blonde bimbo, Audrey, who is in an abusive relationship with an evil dentist, she has a good sense of comedy and a good voice, especially singing of her dream, "Somewhere That’s Green."
One of the best scenes is when Gurley and Scott are each juggling two large older telephones while singing to their customers – not easy to do onstage. Their timing was terrific.
A longtime presence with the CCT, Cecilia Stevenson, plays Mushnick, owner of the florist shop. The role was originally played by a man, but Steele chose to cast a woman in the role this time. It works really well. Stevenson has a flair for comedy and a good voice. By the way, 27 years ago, Stevenson appeared in "Little Shop of Horrors" as Audrey with Larry Hembree as Seymour.
As Orin, the evil laughing-gas-addicted dentist, Mike Fox of Lugoff, who hasn’t been on the CCT stage since he was a teenager, returns and plays the role to the hilt.
Though the audience doesn’t see him, Jay Jay Harris, a newcomer to CCT productions, does a fine job as the voice of the trash-talking, singing Audrey II.
There is a lot more singing than dialogue in "Little Shop," and the music, under the direction of Jaston Hawes is really good, even among the supporting chorus, led by Brianna Grant as Ronette, Amanda Britt as Crystal and Isis Riveria Madrid as Chiffon.
Kudos to the band, too: Andy Wells, piano; Denny Methe, drums; Devin Sherman, guitar; Paul Hayes, bass.
"Little Shop of Horrors" opened Thursday night and will continue tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Wood Auditorium at the FAC, 810 Lyttleton Street, Camden. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and military. For tickets or more information, call 425-7676 or visit the FAC website at www.fineartscenter.org. Office hours today are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at the auditorium box office before performances, if still available.