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'Horrors' horribly funny

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Musical theatre junior Joey Snider, playing Seymour, and theatre production junior Andrew Goldwasser, playing Mr. Mushnik, chill with the plant named Audrey II. "Little Shop of Horrors" is now playing in Marroney Theatre, and runs through May 2.
By Lindsey Muth
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 15, 2004
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The Arizona Repertory Theatre is concluding its 2003-2004 season with the darkly hilarious musical "Little Shop of Horrors."

Holy shit!

Let me say it again.

Holy shit - this production is good! Funny, macabre and beyond campy, "Little Shop" delivers more than tulips and daisies.

For those of you unfamiliar with the storyline, allow me to brief you. Florist assistant Seymour is kind of a drip. He's unsuccessful, slovenly and a bit shy with the ladies. He's also in love with his co-worker, Audrey. She's sweet, if ditsy, wears leopard-print stilettos and talks through her nose. Audrey's a bit of a ho, but Seymour loves her unrequitedly, and that's his big problem. Then one day, he discovers a mysterious and amazing plant, which he names Audrey II.

Audrey II brings Seymour fame, fortune and even love. The downside of this nifty plant is that it eats people. What's Seymour to do, especially when the plant demands fresh blood in the soulful ditty "Feed Me"?

"Little Shop" is basically a bloody camp-fest set to music. Now there's campy-good, like the 1986 version of the movie starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Then, there's campy-bad, like the Tom Arnold film "The Stupids." Arizona Repertory Theatre's production of "Little Shop" falls into the campy-good category, maybe even campy-terrific.

Trisha Hart Ditsworth, a musical theatre senior, is noxiously enchanting as the nasal seductress Audrey. Ditsworth is a pro; she nails the performance and sings with passion, as do the rest of the cast. Musical theatre junior, Joey Snider, is convincingly geeky as Seymour, and he is much better-looking than Rick Moranis.

I felt bad for only one cast member and that was musical theatre senior Jonathan Brian Furedy. Furedy plays sadistic, hepcat dentist Orin in the musical, and although Furedy is obviously a huge talent, I couldn't help but compare his performance to Steve Martin's in the same role. Martin wins the cookie, which isn't saying anything about Furedy's performance, except that it was inevitably overshadowed by my memory of Martin riding a motorcycle in dentist attire and singing about killing puppies (ah, enjoyable stuff). Luckily for Furedy, he gets to shine and steal scenes in a slew of other, smaller roles within the musical.

Props must also go out to the set designers. In the cubist-expressionist style of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the rotating set perfectly captures the skewed reality and dark-humored undertones of the production. More props go to costume design for creating a pleather S and M dentist smock. And while I'm throwing props all around, let's hear it for the huge man-eating plant puppet. Go plant puppet. Kill, kill!

"Little Shop of Horrors" runs evenings through May 1, with weekend matinees through May 2. Tickets are $18 for students and $26 for the general public. For more information or to buy tickets, call the UA Fine Arts Box Office at 621-1162.

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