By Tom Dercola
Little Shop of Horrors, Rainbow Stage’s first production of the summer season could best be described as a rock horror comedy musical. This delightful production sprang from Roger Corman’s 1960 film of the same name. Many of you may be familiar with the 1986 remake which starred Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
Rainbow Stage director Ray Hogg squeezed the best from two first-time performers at Rainbow Stage, Chris George as Seymour and Gabi Epstein as Audrey.
Chris George was a delight as the nerdy and clumsy Seymour, a grown-up orphan living and working under the harsh tutelage of Mr. Mushkin, the owner of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists, joyfully played by Rainbow stage veteran, Robb Paterson.
Gabi brought a sweet innocence and powerful voice to the role of Audrey, Seymour’s beloved colleague
Jesse Grandmont (Ring of Fire, 2016) played Orin the sadistic dentist who was not loath to inflict pain with regular beatings of Audrey
And finally, there was Audrey II – a carnivorous plant which did not respond to regular plant food.
Life was a grind for the workers of the florist shop. However, there was a strange plant which seemed to be attracting the attention of passers by. But the plant fared poorly, until by accident, Seymour pricked his finger and realized that Audrey II feeds on human blood. The backstage crew did a marvellous job of creating (and recreating) Audrey II as it grew, fed by the increasingly anemic Seymour.
Audrey II became more and more demanding for human blood, and one of the funniest scenes, near the end of Act I, was the tune, Feed Me, Simon Miron, the voice of Audrey II, provided a funky, street-talking vibe.
Year after year, Rainbow Stage continues to impress with the quality of the performances (Sister Act, Ring of Fire) as well the sets and costumes. It is no wonder that Rainbow Stage is one of the icons of the Winnipeg entertainment scene.
Next up is Mamma Mia, which runs Aug. 10 to Aug. 31.
Tom Dercola, president of CJNU, is often seen around town sporting a fedora.