DISCLAIMER!: Before diving into my thoughts on this show, I’d like to make note that unfortunately photography was not allowed in the building. As such I was unable to capture […]
DISCLAIMER!: Before diving into my thoughts on this show, I’d like to make note that unfortunately photography was not allowed in the building. As such I was unable to capture photos of the set or actors to share with you and instead found the featured image for this entry on Centre Stage’s Facebook Page. All rights for this image are contributed to Wallace Krebs Photography, whose impressive portfolio can be found here. As Positive Plugs is a non-profit hobby blog, absolutely no revenue is earned from our articles, clicks, site visits or otherwise. With that said, let’s get started!
My wife and I chose to attend a 2 pm Saturday matinee showing of The Little Shop of Horrors at Centre Stage located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
Upon entering the theater, I found myself impressed with the cozy and compact layout that made every seat in the house feel personal and interactive. The staff were also incredibly kind and greeted us with smiles from the moment we walked in the door door until they helped us find our seats. Being that this was our first time attending, the incredible hospitality and extra comfy seats left a very positive first impression.
If these first interactions were a hopeful hint of visiting again the minutes following the start of the play cemented that as fact. Oh, and don’t worry like everything else I review on Positive Plugs – I won’t be spoiling the show!
The stage offers a quaint layout of Skid Row including a combined interior/exterior of Mr. Mushnik’s Florist Shop. The smaller design made for a more intimate performance and the cast utilize every inch of work space, popping up in unexpected places several times throughout.
From the introductory song “Skid Row” I constantly bounced my attention between everyone on stage. Even when the lights were dim and the spotlight highlighted a central character, everyone on stage could be seen pulling off even the most meticulous actions to play their characters.
This meant that the characters came to life from the moment they were visible until they vanished from sight. What makes this even more impressive is that the entire play was performed by a cast of only eight people.
I’d like to highlight a few things I enjoyed from each of them.
Chris Cashon plays Seymour Krelbourn and was a spot on pick for anyone familiar with the 1986 film version of the character played by Rick Moranis. His self-depreciating attitude while maintaining a genuine smile was endearing, and the scenes involving frustration and/or moral dilemma were sold particularly well though his comedic timing was also flawless.
Angelina Chisholm plays Ronette, one of the three street urchins/narrators of the play, and she was so bold with her character’s ‘no nonsense’ approach. Each time she was on stage she always made herself known and her smile was infectious to the audience.
Mary Evan Giles who plays Audrey went to the same high school as my wife and I. Though I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, my wife shared Theater Company with her and prior to the show discussed with me how Mary was always very involved with the school theater and that she was happy to see her in such a great role. She played an amazing Audrey! The entire cast did a very impressive job capturing the accents of their characters, but Mary managed to nail Audrey’s high-pitched whine perfectly. Also, I’ve never seen anyone run so fast in high heels. Twice I was scared she was going to take a tumble rushing down the stairs so fast but this girl is a professional.
Antoinette Hall plays Chiffon, another of the street urchins/narrators, and multiple times throughout the play she managed to pull my attention from the spotlight to watch her thanks to her incredibly peppy and energetic mannerisms which make her extremely fun to watch.
Wesley Hudson plays Crystal, the third and final street urchin/narrator and holy damn this man can sing. His confidence could be felt from the minute the show started until the conclusion. One of his wardrobe changes included a clean suit with a bowtie and despite the entire cast singing, I could still pick his voice out plain as day and couldn’t stop watching him go.
Paul Noga plays Mr. Mushnik in the most perfect way and I’m not afraid to say that he was my favorite character. I cannot stress enough that every single member of this cast is spectacularly talented and that it was a pure joy to witness their art, but I found myself in total admiration for Mr. Noga’s performance and I’m hopeful to see him perform again in the future.
Javy Pagan plays Audrey II and is THE sight to behold. Massive kudos to the costume department on this iteration of the character. From the sparkling green of Javy’s beard to those massive teeth on his shoes, the entire appearance of his Audrey II is pleasing to the eyes. He also does an incredible job of demonstrating Audrey II’s “influence” on characters in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I found myself smirking in his direction each time he did this as if I was the only one catching him in the act (spoiler: I wasn’t). I also admire Javy’s dedication to being a plant, as during one appearance he kept his head turned in what I imagine is one of the most uncomfortable positions of all time for ten to fifteen minutes without moving an inch. That’s dedication!
Lastly, but certainly not least, Josh Thomason plays Orin Scrivello, DDS… or at least that’s who he’s credited for in the program. What they don’t credit him for is the five or six other characters he plays – at times – only seconds apart from each other. This guy has to be close to a world record for wardrobe changes and I imagine he has a pit crew just out of view to help him accomplish this impressive feat. But for the sake of length and spoilers I’ll focus on his listed character, Orin, the sadistic inhalant abusing boyfriend of Audrey whom Josh plays with class, style and a beautiful singing voice. In fact, he almost plays him too well, as you’ll likely find yourself wanting to reach out and strangle the man yourself!
The play runs for around two hours over the course of two acts with a brief intermission between them. It’s the first play that I’ve attended where I wished there wasn’t an intermission because I found myself so wholly engrossed in the performance and those two hours felt closer to forty minutes or so.
Each and every member of the cast put a ton of effort into their performances and I’m extremely grateful for that. Their dedication to practicing and perfecting these roles led to a flawless experience that I’ll always cherish – and they’ve ensured that my wife and I will be returning to see what other works they bring to life.
The credit also deserves to be shared with the extensive actions of the Production Crew who worked hard to create a beautiful set and scenery, crisp ambient sounds, super dope wardrobes, larger than life lighting, impressive props (those trash cans are made out of adamantium or something!) and choreography that must have taken weeks to master with how smooth it was to watch.
So, with the help of my program, I’m going to list each role inside to give credit where credit it’s due!
- Kevin Treu (Director)
- Taylor Marlatt (Music Director)
- Michael Cherry (Choreographer)
- Sara Tolson (Stage Manager)
- Tori Goubert (ASM & Props Coordinator)
- Clint Walker (Set Designer)
- Celia Blitzer (Costume Designer)
- Amanda Farley (Production Intern/Costume Coordinator)
- Victor DeLeon (Make-up and Hair Designer)
- Ashley Bingam “Bing” (Scenic Painter)
I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in making this experience, and also to every staff member who made us feel so welcome.
To anyone in the Greenville area reading this who is interested in seeing the show themselves, it’s running until October 6th and you can find more information, and buy your tickets here!
Also be sure to check out the companies trailer for the play here to get a glimpse of the magic I witnessed this afternoon.
Centre Stage is located at 501 River St. Greenville, SC 29601. If you have questions regarding the venue or their shows, call the box office at 864-233-6733.