Little Shop of Horrors, the comedy horror musical was written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, was first produced in 1982.
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The ASUSF College Players’ adaptation is one more interpretation of the musical’s theme and idea which can be discussed as the struggle with the enemy and negative consequences of the attempts to put one person’s desires over the other people’s ones. Thus, having grown the plant which eats humans, Seymour does not stop and tries to win Audrey’s love and people’s recognition while killing other persons.
The ASUSF College Players’ musical adaptation creates the specific atmosphere of the horror comedy with the help of vivid settings and bright light accents. The scenic design is good because the scene is rather large to place big cardboard settings and provide the space for artists who need to act, sing, and dance on this stage.
Vivid textile decorations also catch the audience’s attention. The lighting is good to emphasize the main characters’ actions while making the necessary accents and to produce the ‘horror’ effects while playing with the contrast of red and black lights and elements. The costumes are appropriate to distinguish between main characters and dancers.
The sound design is good, but it can be improved while speaking about the balance between the music and voices because music sounds are more intensive in comparison with the loudness of the singing voices. While evaluating the elements of acting, it is necessary to state that acting is good to contribute to the complex genre of musical.
The actors can be discussed as rather convincing because they are good to perform their concrete tasks to add to the whole ensemble’s performance. It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the actors’ ensemble can be divided into several groups which perform perfectly while interacting with each other. The musical depends significantly on the features of actors’ singing and expressiveness.
From this point, the actors’ voices work to represent the whole plot’s development and the characters’ feelings and intentions, and the actors’ dancing movements add to the musical because of their expressiveness. All these elements contribute to the idea of believability.
However, the actors do not underplay or overplay their parts, and the accentuated exaggeration of emotions contributes to creating the comic and horror effects. It is also possible to discuss the duet of Seymour and Audrey as an outstanding performance because the actors feel each other perfectly, and their performance is full of real strong emotions.
While looking at the musical as a director, it is possible to note that the stage is balanced because all the elements of settings are fixed to contribute to the easiness of the actors’ movements. All the aspects and details of the production can also be discussed as balanced, and they reproduce the effects and feelings of comic horror.
Moreover, the production interprets the original musical appropriately, while focusing more on expressiveness and vividness related to the elements of settings, acting, singing, and dancing. The director seems to realize the playwright’s concept while focusing more on producing comic effects. However, the problems with the sound loudness do not contribute to covering the musical’s plot.
Nevertheless, the ASUSF College Players’ adaptation of the musical is interesting and provocative because of the actors’ effective performance, and they perfectly create the necessary atmosphere and manipulate the audience’s expectations.