Little Shop of Horrors | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Little Shop of Horrors

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This musical version of Roger Corman's 1960 black comedy recounts the saga of Seymour, a Skid Row florist's assistant who nurtures a man-eating plant by feeding his foes to the bloodthirsty fern. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's witty score echoes classic rock tunes by Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; the era is further evoked by a black girl group that narrates the Faustian fable. But the 1982 off-Broadway hit feels strangely charmless in this bloated, blaringly loud touring edition of director Jerry Zaks's 2003 Broadway revival. There's sharp choreography by Kathleen Marshall, and Tari Kelly delivers an appealing, nuanced performance as Audrey, the woman Seymour loves. But much of the work's wry humor--and many of the lyrics--are swallowed up by the sprawling Auditorium Theatre, a great venue for ballet companies and large-chorus musicals but one ill-suited to a sly little show like this. Through 7/3: schedule follows. Through 6/26: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 and 7:30 PM. Then 6/28-7/3: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1400. $18-$80.

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