Volume 10 Week 10

Sunday, Dec. 14


Updated March 2

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette





(Posted 6:30 a.m., March 5)

Horrific musical filled with a number of great performances
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Brooke Morrice and Ryan Binsell are simply fantastic as Audrey and Seymour in the St. Peter Musical Theatre production of 'Little Shop of Horrrors'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Over the years the
St. Peter Players have tackled a wide range of productions from the Broadway classic "Les Miserables" to Disney's "Beauty and the Beast".

Two years ago they presented their own version of "Grease", which is the most popular high school musical of all time. This year they've gone back to the catalogue of popular high school musicals and pulled out "Little Shop of Horrors" which first appeared on Broadway in 1982 and enjoyed a five year run.

There was also a movie by the same name which starred Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Ellen Greene.

Having never seen the movie or the original musical, I went to the opening of the St. Peter Musical Theatre Company production on Wednesday night with my eyes and ears wide open.

One of the joys of Sp.m.TC productions is that they always have live orchestral accompaniment and the actors are miked so you never have to strain to hear the actors above the music.

The sound Wednesday night was impeccable as was the lavish set including the two storey flourist shop complete with its own stoop.

As for the play itself, I found that it took awhile for things to get really warmed up. In fact, it was about an hour into the play before I started to really get into the play which coincided with the appearance of Danny Bettencourt who plays a sadistic dentist named Orin Scrivello who has a penchant for using nitrus oxide -- on himself. He also happens to be Audrey's abusive boyfriend.

Audrey, who's played by Brooke Morrice, is the love interest in the play and the inspiration of one Seymour Krelborn, played by Ryan Binsell, who works with her in the Skidrow Florist Shop.

When Seymour meets a Chinese flower salesman during a total eclipse of the sun, he buys a strange plant from him and names it Audrey II after his secret love.

But getting back to Bettencourt, his manic potrayal of the sadistic dentist is epic. In fact, my favourite scene in the play is when Seymour goes to the dentist's office with a plan to Scrivello so he can feed him to the plant.

When Seymour arrives, however, he can't bring himself to pull the trigger and Bettencourt takes over the scene. In the end, the dentist suffocates himself with his own nitrus oxide mask and Seymour has to carry him back to the flower shop where he dismembers Scrivello's body and feeds it body part by body part to Audrey II, which is how the first half of the play ends.

As the second half of the play opens, the shop is so busy Audrey and Seymour, who are now an item, can barely keep up. Seymour and the plant have become media darlings and everything seems to be going wonderfully until Mr. Mushnick, the shop owner, realizes his star employee may be responsible for Scrivello's disappearance.

Worried that his boss might turn him in, Seymour tricks him into looking for the day's receipts inside Audrey II, which devours him as he peers inside.

With two people already dead, Seymour realizes that he can't possibly keep up with the plants insatiable thirst for human blood so he decides to destroy the plant but not until he feeds it one last meal of raw roast beef.

While Seymour is out at the butcher, Audrey shows up at the shop and discovers Audrey II can talk. As the plant coaxes her to come closer, it grabs her arm and tries to drag her inside. As Audrey struggles to free herself from Audrey II, Seymour shows up and pulls her away from the plant.

Mortally wounded, Audrey begs Seymour to let her feed herself to the plant where everything will be green again.

It's only afterwards that Seymour figures out the plant's dastardly plan. It caused the solar eclipse and came down to earth from another planet to take over the world.

After realizing the plant's goal of world domination, Seymour tries to kill it, first by shooting it, and then using rat poison. When nothing works he decides to try and cut it apart from the inside, but is consumed himself.

An unsuspecting international botanist then decides to take cuttings of the strange plant so it can be propogated around the world.

As the play ends, the audience is presented with the frightening prospect that thousands of Audrey IIs will end up eating the entire human race. The final production number, "Don't Feed the Plant", offers a warning to everybody.

Besides the fantastic and fantabulous performances of Bettencourt, Morrice, and Binsell, Mike Moreau also does an outstanding job as Mr. Mushnick and Mike Heney is amazing as Audrey II. One of the more memorable vocal performances of the play is "Feed Me" which is song by Audrey II and Seymour near the end of Act 1..

The chorus is superb as well throughout the litany of ensemble production numbers "Little Shop of Horrors" is famous for.

Members of the chorus include Esther Barrett, Nicole Brake, Vanessa Campbell, Andrea Constantine. Laurence DaNova, Amber Forgie, Bridget Gilhooly, Riley Hoban, Chantal Hooser, Eric Kavcic, Siobhan Kelly, Alyssa Milobar, Jeremy Morganty, Alexander Panneton, Aisha Paul, Katie Radway, Meagan Schroeder, Brandon Swann and Sarah Tomaszewski.

The musical accompaniment is provided by the St. Peter Orchestra under the direction of Lisa Maclean. Shannon Olsheskie, Teresa Bermingham, Esther Guindon and Linda Roe are the stage managers and Michelle Hoban, Johanne Ledoux and Chantal Locke are resonsible for the costuming and make up.

This is Bernard Leger's 11th production at St. Pete's. The drama teacher provides the direction, musical inspiration and guidance for the actors and crew with the able assistance of student director Georgina Faddoul.

"Little Shop of Horrors" continues tonight and tomorrow night with two more performances at St. Peter High School. Curtain time is 7 p.m. and tickets are $10 per person.


(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



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