‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Offers Scary, Fun Musical Romp

Sean Hopper as Seymour.
Sean Hopper as Seymour.

Did you ever sit, peering through spread fingers, scared stiff but curious? Ever think, “This is fiction, but what if?”

If so, then “Little Shop of Horrors” is made for you. Described by director Corey Ralston as a spoof of the grade-B horror films of the ’50s and ’60s, “Little Shop of Horrors” is romp for the imagination with music that is catchy and fun.

The story’s central character, Seymour Krelborn (Sean Hopper), is obsessed by unusual plants and a femme fatale he is too shy to approach, at least at first. Hopper describes Seymour as the unknown villain, indebted to the flower shop owner who rescued him from an orphanage.

“He was rescued to provide manual labor and lives in deplorable conditions, but for him anything is better than growing up in an orphanage,” he explains.

Audrey, Seymour’s femme fatale, is ably portrayed by Lindsay Tweed, a newcomer to Visalia. “I’ve only been here since June,” says Tweed. “I grew up all over the country and the world, but I love musical comedy and I wanted to get involved.” Tweed describes Audrey as “a very challenged person who grew up in the gutter. She clings to anyone who can support her, whether good for her or not.”

As the flower shop falls on hard times and Audrey’s “money man” Orin Scrivello (Henry Gonzales) becomes more abusive, Seymour has problems of his own. His most recent plant adventure appears doomed. The plant is dying without apparent cause until Seymour’s pricked finger provides it with life’s blood. Audrey II – the plant’s naming is Seymour’s admission of unrequited love – responds beyond Seymour’s expectations and his fame begins.

The flower shop begins to prosper, and Audrey’s affections for Seymour change. How will Seymour handle fame and fortune? What unexpected twists and turns may occur? For those familiar with the film version of “Little Shop of Horrors,” there are surprises in store. The end of the play apparently did not work in the film and was rewritten. The stage version has the original ending.

For Ralston, “Little Shop of Horrors” is a work of love and heartbreak. “I originally directed the play when I was 16 at Kings County Fairground,” he says. “I always thought if I did the show again it would be as Seymour. I identify with him. That’s the hazard of being an actor/director, you often miss the roles you covet most.”

On Sunday, March 23, after the matinee, “Back Stage at the Ice House” will be hosted by Sharon DeCoux, a veteran Visalia Player. Audience members will have an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the opportunity to ask questions and interact with cast and crew.

“Little Shop of Horrors” runs for three weekends at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on March 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29, and matinees are at 2pm on March 16, 23 and 30. To purchase tickets, visit www.visaliaplayers.org or the Visalia Community Players Facebook page, or call 734-3900.

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