‘Little Shop of Horrors’ a cult favorite

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BY ANGELA HATCHER: When the moon passes directly behind the Earth, it is called a total lunar eclipse,

and it has been said that, during such an event, plant life can actually be affected.

Just weeks ago, our most recent lunar eclipse occurred, and One More Productions’ 

latest offering of the universally beloved musical treasure, “Little Shop of Horrors”

recently planted itself on The Gem’s stage with all of its charm and cult-following glory. Coincidence?

Perhaps.

BY ANGELA HATCHER: When the moon passes directly behind the Earth, it is called a total lunar eclipse,

and it has been said that, during such an event, plant life can actually be affected.

Just weeks ago, our most recent lunar eclipse occurred, and One More Productions’ 

latest offering of the universally beloved musical treasure, “Little Shop of Horrors”

recently planted itself on The Gem’s stage with all of its charm and cult-following glory. Coincidence?

Perhaps.

Does a geeky and sheepishly shy skid row flower shop clerk impress his cantankerous boss and his “secret crush” with a “strange and unusual plant?” On opening night the enthusiastic crowd devoured every morsel of the carnivorous Venus Fly Trap replica and the rest of One More Production’s Little Shop cast with rousing applause and shrieks of laughter.

Mr. Mushnick (Spenser Michetich) owns the rundown flower shop, and his failing business is practically in the “gutta.”

Mushnick’s lovelorn store clerk, Seymour (Scott Leslie), has a yearning for his Peroxide-bottled blonde co-worker, Audrey (Andrea Hardwick). Audrey, though, is caught up in a rather violent relationship with her sadistic motorcycle-riding boyfriend, Orin (Chris Harper), and life seems to be going nowhere fast.

Once the plant gets invited to the party, things begin to change, and Seymour and his bloodthirsty leafy green plant life, “Audrey II” become an overnight sensation.

The puppet duo of Art Vega and Amber Reeder operating the puppet with Jaysen Robbins providing Twoey’s booming voice all live up to the high bar expectations that One More Productions has set, and the effect is terrific.

The leads all have big shoes to fill, and they do it with gusto. The Greek chorus Crystal (Fiona Wonder), Ronette (Erika Baldwin), and Chiffon (Emma Chassey), leads the audience through the storyline and their delivery of the mélange of catchy pop tunes is monstrously good.

Costume Designer Larry Watts has given careful thought and attention to detail with his elaborate costumes, and from silk Asian-style dresses to school girl plaid to Diana Ross-style evening gowns, the Doo Wop girls, (Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon) have countless changes all of them relevant to each scene and fun to see.

Tucked behind the main set, the live band featuring pianist Taylor Stephenson, guitarist Jimmy Cornier, bassist Nic Gonzales and drummers Jeff Segal and Sho Fujieda kick up the energy and elevate the production with the infectious Alan Menken/Howard Ashman ‘60s rock score.

Wally Huntoon’s imaginative cartoonish set design brings less of the rundown neighborhood to light and more of a bright spot to the underprivileged neighborhood. Hardwick’s rendition of “Somewhere That’s Green” is heartfelt and genuine. Leslie’s and Micetich’s song and dance “tango,” “Mushnick and Son” is hysterical, and a highlight well worth waiting for. With more than three decades of performances, the sci fi smash, “Little Shop of Horrors,” still blossoms, the songs are great, and the characters still inspire the audience.

Outstanding performances by the leads, the ensemble and special mention to Zack Martinez, who brings one of the funniest moments. H

ave you checked your plant life lately?

“Little Shop of Horrors”

The Gem Theatre

12852 Main St. in Garden Grove

For tickets, call 714-741-9550.

Runs through Nov. 1

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