Is the Philippine Theatre really dead? When In Manila people prefer watching movies on the big screen almost every week, some even 2-3xs to catch those 3D types and the like. There is something exciting to me about a live performance that movies do not have, not to say that I don’t love movies. I have seen The Wedding Singer, RENT and recently, the Little Shop of Horrors. I did a few researches before watching the last one.
In line with the celebration of its 20th season, Ateneo Blue Repertory aka blueRep (Hair, Edges) brings an Off-Broadway musical play, the Little Shop of Horrors. This is based from the 1960s film directed by Roger Corman, also carrying the same title. This is directed by whoelse but the Toff de Venecia, also a blueRep alumni and a part of the 9 Works Theatrical team. With those, there is no need for a second thought. Little Shop of Horrors was well acted, there were interesting ideas conveyed and the characters were truly commendable. Not to mention the unique set, characters were not only singing in tune but they will bring the audience into their own character. Good lyrics and music were cooked up to perfection that will make you even want to buy the soundtrack album, if there is! Cast and crew did an excellent job with the production. A Singing
Eating Plant. A Sassy Girl. A Demented Dentist. A Daring Hero. This show was a total package.
I haven’t had the chance to see the 1986 hit movie so I was more eager to see how everything would look on stage. The only idea I have is this deadly plant, that’s all. Besides, the thrill of having to watch a play I don’t have any idea of is just unexplainable. It’s like a can of macarons but not knowing which flavour I am gonna get.
Little Shop of Horrors sets on the story of the nerdy orphan Seymour Krelborn (Red Atadero) and unnoticeable employee of Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists owned by Mr. Mushnik (Darrel Uy). He seemed to be living for nothing but misfortune. He was nothing to everyone and his love for his colleague, Audrey (Maronne Cruz) seemed to be ignored. Audrey is already committed with Orin Scrivello (Gelo Lantaco), a sadistic dentist and an abusive boyfriend. Until one fine day that he accidentally created a plant specie (Venus flytrap) that started to sing for supper. It yearned for blood and flesh. This plant got some unique appetite eh? The plant gave Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop fame and fortune and made Seymour from a loser to a hero. But as expected every bargain has a price to pay. Turns out that the estranged plant camouflaged as a devil and beckoned Seymour for a pact. He would get every fortune and fame plus Audrey’s love. He was definitely tempted by all those and blinded by his ultimate love for Audrey thus he made a deal with the devil. He initially named the plant Audrey II, portrayed by Tina Ramos (signifying his love for Audrey).
As Seymour was convinced to make Orin (the schizo dentist and Audrey’s bf) the first victim of Audrey II, the greed for more flesh surfaced. Even Mr. Mushnik who almost stood up as his father was also victimized. Until then that the master became the slave. Seymour must decide whether he wants to continue his life of fame and fortune and continue impressing Audrey, or destroy the monstrous plant altogether. As Audrey was also put in danger, how would Seymour escape this horrible situation?
Lighting was well-executed. Not only it delivered the type of light it calls for in each and every scene but it was able to create effects that changed at will to match the mood of the actions. It really evoked the appropriate mood that it will make you think it was real! The viewer will have to pay attention to the lyrics, because they’re saturated with such humour and pun. The offbeat nature of the story will catch every audience’ hearts, topped off with the ingenious characters and the musical numbers that have the feel and sound of Broadway production numbers infused with Motown tunes.
The characters were lovable, here they are slightly dissected:
The Trio – Crystal, Ronette, Chiffon (Roxci de Leon, Cassie Manalastas, and Abi Sulit respectively) sang directly to the audience in a hip, funky and narrative style. They paved the way of new story-telling style with the cool mix of their voices.
Mr. Mushnik (Darrel Uy) was convincing as a mean boss and his comedic dancing skills surely added more twist and fun.
Seymour Krelborn (Reb Atadero) was a nebbish-like insecure guy but his naive and empathetic performance pulled through. It sailed well for his amiable and submissive character.
Audrey (Maronne Cruz) charm does shine through. She managed to create a character which is so highly stylized. She delivered mesmerizing minutes with her magical voice.
Orin Scrivello (Gelo Lantaco), the character of all sorts. From being a sadistic dentist to being an abusive boyfriend, he was indeed effective delivering every character in that black leather jacket and John Lennon funky reflector shades.
Audrey II (Tina Ramos), her wise-cracking anthropomorphic character of a Venus flytrap will make you shake your head in awe. The character shift was just awesome! She’s a freakin good singer.
Christopher “Toff” De Venecia, (All Shook Up, Freakshow) the director. Kudos to you! More plays but no more “feeding” alright? Kidding. Congratulations for a job well done Toff! I highly encouraged my friend Nikki Valdez to watch with me (as Toff also invited her personally) and she was thankful as she highly enjoyed the play too. Told you so mare!
Ejay Yatco, Ateneo Blue Repertory’s artistic director said, “For Ateneo Blue Repertory’s 20th season, the theme focuses on man’s inner struggles — the clash between the beast and humanness within us.” In simplest terms, this is about a man that just wants to live the perfect dream with the perfect family but this life draining world takes everything he has, and at the end of the day he has nothing left to give. This is what we experience every day. We wanted perfection, thing is nobody’s perfect and at the end of the day who is?
There’s something to the cautionary tale theory when we watch plays in particular. Some see the enjoyment of musical plays as analogous to eating chocolates or having a non- traffic road When In Manila. If you have seen or watched the film Little Shop of Horrors, expect something different from this play. They made a different attack to it and pretty sure you’d all come to love it as well. It’s humorous, peppy, and simultaneously profane and touching.
Catch Ateneo BlueRep’s Little Shop of Horrors at the Ateneo De Manila University’s Fine Arts Theater on their last two shows (26-27 Aug). TICKETS ARE BEING EATEN UP FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY “FEED ME!”
Reserve yours now before it’s too late! Contact Mica Fajardo at 09178908795!
Aug 26, 7.30pm
Aug 27, 2pm / 7.30pm
Visit their fan page: https://www.facebook.com/bluereplsoh