“Little Shop of Horrors” is Anything but Horrible

By Julia Doerr

Little Shop of Horrors, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Friday September 22, 2023

The current production of Little Shop of Horrors at Lincoln Community Playhouse is a perfect lead-in to the spooky month of October.  It features the traditional staples of a musical—singing, dancing, and romance—rendered unique by its offbeat characters, satirical storyline, and macabre humor. I’d recommend it for a fun date night or as a show that would appeal to a family with children of upper-elementary or middle-school age.

I heard a fellow audience member say, “There is a lot of talent up on that stage.” And that is exactly right. The show’s cast is smallish, for a musical, but LCP’s cast is strong and well-matched. Without exception, they delivered competent dancing and voices capable of soaring when soaring is called for. Their acting chops made the humor work. And it’s a very funny show.

Set on Skid Row, the story is introduced by a trio of female Street Urchins, who narrate (in song) throughout and provide bit parts as needed. Amanda Stemen, Chloe Peters, and especially Marissa Saure shine in this small ensemble, which is as effective as the much larger singing and dancing companies of “bigger” musicals. Equally unusual are the two romantic leads in the show, the meek antihero Seymour and the self-loathing object of his affection, Audrey. Sky Lindquist embodies the nerdy Seymour role so effectively, I was surprised by the strength of his singing at appropriate moments. Michelle Colette Ingle’s singing, especially in her act-one solo “Somewhere That’s Green,” is superlative in a way that elevates the somewhat hilarious modesty of Audrey’s dreams to the vision of heaventhey represent to her. That solo and the second act’s duet, “Suddenly Seymour,” were the musical highlights of the show for me.

“Little Shop of Horrors” has two great villains, because a shop of horrors needs more than one. Orin Scrivello is the dentist of everyone’s nightmares and the boyfriend every woman should abandon in the middle of the first date. Will Yindrik plays him to the hilt to great humorous and truly villainous effect. His character gets what he so richly deserves. Ironically, though, Orin’s fate directly benefits the other villain, who happens to be…a plant. After making a modest entrance in a small pot, this villain grows into something much bigger and much more sinister. The puppeteers who make him move, Josh Vinton and Christian Montague, deserve kudos for their work behind the scenes, as does Max Antoine who voices the role of “the vegetable.” Antoine makes the creature very funny and also does some very entertaining singing. He gets the show’s signature line, “Feed me.”

As Playhouse Executive Director Morrie Enders pointed out at the beginning of the evening, “Little Shop of Horrors” opens LCP’s 78th season. I hope they will continue to “feed me” entertainment of this quality.

If you go: Little Shop of Horrors runs September 22 to October 1, 2023. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, and Sundays at 2PM. Ticket information can be found at https://www.lincolnplayhouse.com.

Julia Doerr is a retired high school English teacher with a lifelong love of theatre.

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