ELKIN — This weekend’s performance of “Little Shop of Horrors” was a smash success for Foothills Theatre. An estimated 200 guests attended just on opening night.
“We were thrilled with the response from our audiences, several saying it was Foothills Theatre’s best production to date,” said Director Leighanne Martin Wright. “That quality is a direct result of many talented voices and a dedicated cast willing to work tirelessly with their music, dance and stage rehearsals.”
The show chronicles the tale of mild-mannered botanical genius Seymour and his sinister plant Audrey II, which when fed blood grows from a small sickly plant into a giant monstrosity that threatens to take over the world. While lead actors Benjamin Caswell (Seymour) and Bailey Atkins (Audrey) got lots of well-deserved time in the spotlight, Wright said she also wanted to give special recognition to the hard work it took by actors behind the scenes to create the character of Audrey II.
“Being an actor is not always basking in the limelight,” she said. “Daniel Wilson brought such personality to the puppets he manned, unseen by all. He did things new each time and even had me laughing in the sound booth during each performance. The puppet he wore while sitting in the tub was hot and working it is strenuous, but never did he complain. Also unseen was Dr. Ray Fencl, whose deep, clear bass voice was perfect for Audrey II.”
Wright also praised the work of the cast members in the ensemble.
“Several of our actors found themselves in more than one role, which often happens when you are willing to be in the ensemble — a vital part of any production,” she said.
Area theater buff Bill Colvard, who attended the opening night performance called the show “positively delicious.” Part of the joy, he said was getting to see friends and neighbors on stage having fun and putting on a terrific show.
“So many people you probably know did a fabulous job,” he said. “That’s the thing about community theater. So many people working together toward a common goal. It’s positively infectious.”
Colvard was impressed with all the actors in the show, but he was particularly impressed with Morgan Harrison who played the role of Orin Scrivillo, the first character to be fed to Audrey II.
“I have seen Morgan Harrison onstage a few times and he’s always good, but the sadistic dentist is the role of his life,” Colvard said. “It’s rare to see an actor, even a professional, so totally lose himself in a part and just totally go for it with absolutely no self-consciousness at all. None. Zero. All in. Experiencing a performance like Morgan’s is why we go to the theater.”
Another show attendee, Suzanne Puckett, said it was a great show and the cast was very in sync.
“Great voices all around,” she added. “Wonderful sets especially Audrey II. Also good sound and lighting.” Her favorite number was “Skid Row” which featured leads Audrey and Seymour and the entire ensemble.
After their final performance on Sunday, the massive plant puppet Audrey II met its demise as the set was deconstructed and the cast headed to the pool for its annual post-show cast party.
Cast members said that it is always bitter sweet when a show is over, but Wright is already making plans for future shows.
“I am always looking for scripts that will work nicely as readers’ theater for the arts council garden and hope to produce another this fall. Coming in February 2015 will be our dessert theater production — no decision on a title has been made at this time. But next July, we have secured the rights for ‘Chicago,’ the musical and we are pumped about that production,” she said.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.