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“Little Shop of Horrors” Has Comedic Bite and Music with Staying Power


It’s been almost thirty years since the delightfully campy Little Shop of Horrors appeared on the stage at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, so bringing the show back was long overdue. Thank goodness Artistic Director Tom Width, who is also directing the production, added it this year’s schedule.

Honaker, Page, and John Hagadorn as Mr. Mushnik. (All photos by Robyn O’Neill)

Little Shop of Horrors is not your typical musical. The clever show tells the tale of Seymour, a nerdy, introverted sales clerk who works in Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop on Skid Row. When Mr. Mushnik begins to toss around the idea of closing the shop, Audrey, who also works at the shop, tells him that Seymour has been taking care of a plant that is quite unusual.

Seymour named the plant Audrey Two in honor of Audrey, whom he adores from afar. Audrey, however, is dating Orin, a punk dentist who uses her as his punching bag. As time goes on, Audrey Two grows larger and larger and reveals to Seymour that the plant food it needs to survive can’t be found in a garden shop.

This gruesome discovery – think humongous man-eating plant not of this world – leads Seymour down a dark path that is as sinister as it is hilarious.

Width has done a magnificent job of casting this first-rate production.

The doo-wop trio, played by Katrinah Carol Lewis, Jessi Johnson, and Ashlee Arden Heyward light up the stage.
The doo-wop trio, played by Katrinah Carol Lewis, Jessi Johnson, and Ashlee Arden Heyward light up the stage.

The doo-wop trio, played by Katrinah Carol Lewis, Jessi Johnson, and Ashlee Arden, Heyward lights up the stage like any spirited girl group from the 1950s. They are energetic, funny, and immensely talented.

Seasoned veteran John Hagadorn embraces the role of Mr. Mushnik and gives the shopkeeper a genuine quality that is quite believable.

Adam Mincks hams it up in his role as the crazed dentist Orin. After watching Orin you’ll think twice about going to the dentist. Just saying. (Steve Martin played Orin in the film version.)

Ian Page and Audra Honaker who play star-crossed lovers Seymour and Audrey are the perfect pair. They play to each other’s strengths. Page takes nerdy and anxious to a new level while Honaker expertly flexes her comedic muscles.

LittleShopMill(2)_calendarAnd, a shout out to Durron Tyre as the powerfully persuasive voice Audrey Two.

Little Shop of Horrors will have you laughing the entire night. The show is probably not suited for children under twelve due to some mature themes and adult language.

Little Shop of Horrors runs through May 21 at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Click for showtimes and tickets.

An award-winning writer based in Richmond, Joan Tupponce is a parent, grandparent, and self-admitted Disney freak. She writes about anything and everything and enjoys meeting inspiring people and telling their stories. Joan’s work has appeared in RFM since the magazine’s first issue in October 2009. Look for original and exclusive online articles about Richmond-area people, places, and ideas at Just Joan: RVA Storyteller.

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