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Friday, June 3, 2011

Boxcar Theatre's Little Shop of Horrors Feeds Us Wicked Fun

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 11:02 AM

click to enlarge little_shop_of_horrors_54_1307124439584.png

Little Shop of Horrors

Through June 26 at Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma (at 6th), SF. $20-50; 776-1747 www.boxcartheatre.org.

For this production of the campy classic, the inventive Boxcar Theatre converts their entire space, including lobby and outdoor façade, into a skid-row flower shop. The opening number, complete with a live accordion brass band, spills out into the SOMA alleyway, and actors, costumed as homeless people, mingle with real homeless folk wandering through, submerging the audience in this grimy world.

Once inside, the B-movie plotline centers around an ever-growing plant hungry for human blood.
In Boxcar's vision, all this involves song, security video footage, blood-splattered plastic draping, and a chorus of grungy street urchins.

The adorable chemistry between horticulturist nerd Seymour (John R. Lewis) and his tough girl-with-a-heart-of-gold paramour Audrey (the excellent Bryn Laux) keeps things light and sweet at the center, while the storm around them plays out like a madcap grindhouse flick.

Kevin Clarke wickedly hams it up as the motorcyle-driving, giggle-gas addicted dentist Orin Scrivello (made famous by Steve Martin in the movie) and the monstrous plant puppet design by Greg Frisbee and Thomas John is quite impressive.

Even with some pacing problems and weaker voices, this brilliantly conceived and designed production is devilish fun.

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Nathaniel Eaton

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