NORWICH – Only in the fantasy world of a Broadway musical could you combine Skid Row, a sadistic dentist and a man-eating plant and come up with a love story. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what “Little Shop of Horrors” – being staged at the Norwich High School auditorium this weekend – really is.
Students in the high school music department production have been in rehearsals since January, and not even a shortened schedule and a few snow days/extracurricular activity cancellations could stop the show from going on.
Junior Matt Austin plays our protagonist, flower shop schlepp Seymour Krelborn, “a shy, insecure nerd for plants,” according to his portrayer.
As is the custom in musicals, love changes Seymour of course – but not necessarily for the better. The amateur botanist’s love for shop girl Audrey blossoms into “Audrey II,” a mutant little bud that grows into a man-eating (and rock singing) thorn in Seymour’s side. “He gets pushed in a lot of different directions by the people in his life,” Austin says, “especially when the plant starts to want human sacrifices.”
It’s not as blood and guts as it sounds, really. “Little Shop” keeps the gore to a minimum by turning up the laughs. “It’s surprisingly funny,” Austin says. “There’s a lot of great characters.”
One of those great characters is Seymour’s boss, Mr. Mushnik, played by freshman Chris Kappel, who says the flower shop owner is one of those people “who expected to get away his meager beginnings but never actually managed to do it.” Stuck for all eternity as a Skid Row businessman, Kappel says Mushnik “is very embittered, grouchy ... he never has a smile on his face.”