Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Little Shop of Horrors at the Riverside Center Dinner Theater (review)

Title: Little Shop of Horrors
Book and Lyrics: Howard Ashman
Music: Alan Menken
Producer: Rollin E. Wehman
Director: Stephen R. Hayes
Genre: Musical
Cost: $64.50 per person (includes meal, does not include bar bill or tip)

The food at the Riverside is rarely bad so I was not surprised when once again I had a delicious meal. The only downside to the meal was the side dish of carrots and mixed potatoes. I am not a big fan of carrots and the potatoes were a mix of sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, pinkish ones, and regular ones. On the other hand, the seafood puff pastry is was awesome. I could easily rank it as one of the best meals I have had at the Riverside. Each bite was a wonderful mix of fish, scallops, and shrimp. And the pastry dough was soft, flaky, and sweet.

The salad was about the same as usual. I did opt for the lobster bisque appetizer and it was nice and creamy. For dessert I had the caramel apple pie. And like the rest of the desserts at the Riverside, it was very sweet and rich. The Skid Row (the show drink) was a nice treat for intermission. It tasted like a milkshake.

The show itself was a wacky mix of music, comedy, and horror. I have never seen the movie, but I can only guess how hilarious it was. Of particular note in the performance was the replacement of the original Ronnette, Sandra Hill, but the understudy. Each playbill had a flyer in it that said Mrs. Hill had passed away. There was no mention of her during the introductions, but a search of the local paper only had a short mention of her services.

There were some timing goofs in the performance where lines were flubbed a bit and the audio was off a bit for the man-eating plant, but it did not take that much away from the overall performance. In fact, one of the best characters was the plant itself. Having never seen the movie, I was a little shocked that it would talk (and sing) and danced around as much as it did. The stage hand in charge of running it did a great job.

The rest of the cast did well in there performances also, but the standout performer was Michael J. Perez who did a great job of playing the geeky Seymour. Another pleasant surprise was our server, Chris Hlusko. He has been around the Riverside long enough for us to recognize him in other productions but it was a neat surprise to hear him say he recognized us as frequent attendees.

In the end, I would have enjoyed a better choice of vegetables with dinner and a bit more perfection in the performance. But despite these small hindrances, I still enjoyed the performance and the meal. And if you have never been to the Riverside for a play, I highly recommend it. It is well worth the time and money spent.

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