Review: "Little Shop of Horrors" - Sad!
Dolphins are one of a small number of species that have sex for pleasure, often fornicating without the intention of reproduction. It’s funny then that after leaving this year’s 75th Annual Dolphin Show, audience members likely felt little to no desire for sex, as well as decreased appetite and fatigue. It’s quite a feat for a musical to lower the sex drive of its audience members, but Northwestern’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” was so drab, and so poorly executed that no one could have possibly gotten it up when after the curtains went down.
Walking into Cahn Auditorium for opening night, one immediately noticed a large number of unoccupied seats, a bad omen for any piece of theater. Only the inauguration from earlier that morning had such an embarrassingly low attendance. In those empty seats, one might have seen the empty dreams of the actors--soon-to-be service industry workers--that were about to take the stage of this theatrical tour de bores. Surely the Panini Players get a larger turnout at whatever it is that they do.
Opening on the same day as Trump’s inauguration, “Little Shop of Horrors” reminded us that the system is truly broken when the actors’ microphones failed in the opening musical number. Tech problems were largely unavoidable, given the massive scope and scale of the project. It begs the question, how were the high production costs for such a massive musical met? Indeed, one of the more impressive parts of the show was the set, which featured a flower shop that moved in-and-out, much like my consciousness as a result of the overactive haze-machine. The costumes, however, didn’t live up to the set design, as most were some shade of gray or beige, making the cast look like the models in a Kanye West fashion show.
Onto the story. “Little Shop of Horrors” takes place in in the rundown Skid Row (not to be mixed up with Skid Row, the Skidmore College rowing team) and follows Seymour Krelborn, a white man in a gray suit with a green thumb, who grows a monstrous plant that talks and eats people. A flower hasn’t caused this much trouble since opium poppy in 19th Century China. The plant itself is made to resemble Trump, with bright yellow hair and a big red tie. Silly me, thinking I could make it through a student theater production without being punched in the face with a political metaphor. Throughout the play, the plant grows and grows, much like my anger at knowing that my tuition money went towards building a giant, green, political statement.
As a beta male myself, Seymour’s character was very relatable. However, it is curious that he finds the need to grow a flower to impress his romantic interest, rather than simply give a flower to impress his romantic interest. Seems kind of counterintuitive. And for such a shy and anxious character, Seymour seemed to have little trouble or restraint when it came to chopping up the dead body of a dentist. Funny how that works out. And if we’re poking at plot holes, it’s rather odd that the flower shop Seymour works at is struggling financially, given the company’s Jewish management (relax, I’m Jewish, I can say it). Sure, the show was written in the 1980s, but I still have bones to pick with it.
While the Waa Mu show is entirely student written, the Dolphin Show isn’t, and thank God for that. Though the show was a disaster, at least it didn’t sound like the showers of Jones Res College after a Thursday night at The Deuce. The Dolphin Show’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” provided a take on the horrors of a future Trump presidency without overly offending anyone, though everything else in the show was a major offense to American musical theater as a whole. Failing sound equipment, an overpriced set, an ensemble that showed up for all of eight seconds; the list of shortcomings this show displayed on opening night was simply--as our president would say--sad! If there’s one thing this reviewer took away from the show, it was that survey that I filled out to for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Who knew that Jeff Bezos was invested in the show? Glad to know that Amazon has infiltrated the college theater industry. Hopefully, they’ll make it better because man is it bad.
“Little Shop of Horrors” closes on January 28th after an embarrassingly short 5-show run.
Editor’s Note: Congratulations to all who performed in and worked on “Little Shop of Horrors,” you were marvelous. Also fuck Trump.