Theatre Review

Trinity's 'Little Shop' a big hit

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“Little Shop of Horrors” is one funny, campy musical.

Director Tyler Dobrowsky takes all the silliness and makes it sillier and funnier by setting the musical in Providence and making his characters more outrageous than ever.

You remember the story from the musical or film: Seymour (Jude Sandy) works in Mr. Mushkin’s (Stephen Berenson) Skid Row flower shop, where he has a crush on his co-worker Audrey (Rebecca Gibel), who is in an abusive relationship with a biker dentist (Stephen Thorne).

Seymour nourishes a weird plant that keeps growing when fed by human blood. He names the plant Audrey Two after his true love. The rest is pure camp, a horror story that is filled with crazy, unabashed humor.

Dobrowsky and his talented cast and crew take the old chestnut and run amok with it, adding a lot of physical humor, colorful costumes, song and dance numbers and a few Audreys that defy description.

Ted Chylack works wonders as the Audrey Two puppeteer, and Dobrowsky adds a surprise to the character in the voice and body of Rachel Warren. Warren appears in a tight-fitting green costume, emerging from the plant to be its alter ego, dancing and singing up a storm. She is matched in her vocals by Rebecca Gibel, who shows us her ability to belt out a song.

Gibel and Sandy make a great pair. He plays the lovelorn, innocent nerd who emerges into a monster with the ability to kill.

Berenson makes the perfect Mushkin, while Thorne tears up the scenery as the sadistic dentist who gets what’s coming to him at the hands of Seymour.

There are so many clever moments. My favorite was Seymour and Audrey singing “Somewhere That’s Green” in front of a miniature house with son and daughter, hoping for a better life in a place like Cranston.

The memorable “Suddenly Seymour” is a showstopper, thanks to Gibel’s chops. And wait until you see the famous Marilyn Monroe scene!

The large cast is made up of Conservatory students and a few veterans who play smaller roles and add their own clever touches to them.

Janice Duclos and Timothy Crowe both prove that smaller roles are still vital to the total show, fleshing out their characters to the limits.

And then there are those three fantastic voices of Carla Martinez, Elexis Morton and Kedren Spencer, the Greek chorus wearing stunning costumes by Andrew Jean and supported by a great five-piece band led by Esther Zabinski. (When the stage got stuck for a few moments on opening night, Zabunski jumped in and kept the music going.)

Trinity’s “Little Shop of Horrors” runs through May 12 in the upstairs Chace Theatre. For tickets call 351-4242.

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