Last week, while watching the Sebastiani Theatre’s terrific 80th anniversary celebration, I saw my friend Tina Luster.
She mentioned that she and her sweetie, Bill Hoban, had gone to see the local production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Tina’s clear and enthusiastic advice: “Don’t miss it.” I trust Tina who doesn’t often gush about a local show. So, last Thursday, my own sweetie, another Bill, and I went to Narrow Way Stage Company’s latest offering at the Sonoma Community Center. Tina is right on: What a hoot. Entertaining, engaging, with snappy dialog that begs to be remembered. I’ll second what Tina said: you can’t miss this show. “Little Shop of Horrors” is a clear winner.
Directed to perfection by local kid grown to be a talented young man, Chris Ginesi takes this show to the top. I predict it will be one of the best shows of Sonoma Theatre Alliance’s spring and summer season.
Even as you take your seat in Andrews Hall, the stage backdrop, designed by Tony Ginesi, provides an awesome background. It’s a skid row scene, straight out of the urban jungle. This popular cult classic musical moves fast and furiously, with lots of action every minute and the stage set indicates that intensity.
Audience eats it up
Among the Glen Ellen folks in last Thursday’s audience were Craig Scarborough, who noted, “This is awesome.” Back a few rows sat Bob and Blythe Carver, who echoed Craig’s assessment, “Great show.”
The fellow sitting in front of me laughed so hard, I had to inquire, “You really seem to be enjoying this.” George Miller’s happy reply, “I love this show. I’ve seen the movie at least a hundred times, and I always find new lines.” I’m not surprised; the script is clever, but more than that, the cast is terrific.
Terrific horrific cast
Sweet, lovely Audrey portrays innocence with authenticity, while dressed like a two-bit skid row floozy. Nora Summers blesses us in that role. Seymour, played so well by Matlock Zumsteg, is so truly nerdy that you wonder how he manages on the street; probably, he doesn’t. My favorite character was the mad dentist Orin played by Dallas Munger. We can’t help but wonder if that’s a stage name (ditto for Matlock Zumsteg). But the odd monikers fit both fellows. Strange and twisted, hilarious and scary, Dallas makes the audience laugh, cringe and say “ahhh” all in the same breath.
Of course, I loved the chorus. No Greek throwbacks here. These ladies portray the passage of time by going from sweet sweater sets topping plaid pleated skirts in parochial school girl fashion to hustling babes of the 1960s with their mini-skirted Mondrian op-art dresses and brazen cash exchanges. They are hilarious, and can belt out a fancy tune, even while dancing across the stage and around each other. Thank you to the talented trio of Regie Padua as Ronette, Alexis Long as Crystal, and Laura Levin as Chiffon. Certainly Harry Duke plays the perfect Mushnik, nebbish-like until he see opportunity. Michael Hunter captures a variety of henchmen offering gilt-edge propositions to poor guilt-ridden Seymour.