By Katie Freeman
Theatre Sarnia is presenting the cult classic ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ this month at the Imperial Theatre – the first time the show has been staged in Sarnia for two decades.
“I know that, at one point, St. Clair Secondary School put on the production,” director and choreographer Bethany Tiegs said, pointing to the early 2000s. “That is the last production [of Little Shop] that has been done.”
The show, kicking off Friday, Oct. 20, boasts a cast of 12, including Devon Laird as Seymour and Kalie Woodcock as Audrey.
The story follows Seymour, working in a failing flower shop business, who discovers an unusual plant with a predilection for human flesh, turning his world topsy turvy with plenty of musical numbers along the way.
At its core, it’s a story about much more than a singing plant, Tiegs explained.
“I think Little Shop of Horrors is such a fun package for such an interesting look at our world and how we feel — it’s a look at capitalism, it’s a look at current events,” said Tiegs. “Something really special about the show is you can set it anywhere; any place and it’s identifiable because of the content within it.
“And because of the magic of puppets, you are able to say, that even though this monstrous puppet is talking, I get what’s going on.”
Tiegs, who moved to Sarnia in 2013, has been involved in dance and theatre since childhood and has choreographed and directed other Sarnia theatre productions including ‘Evil Dead: the Musical’ and ‘Wizard of Oz.’
“I always say I have a degree where I did four years of puppetry and clown and this is the first time I’ve done something where I’m super qualified for it,” she said with a laugh.
The production has some hefty behind-the-scenes magic involved, including puppeteering a growing man-eating plant — something people with the proper know-how need to have to pull it off successfully. That’s on top of the singing and choreographed dance numbers. And Tiegs says her team has the talent to do it.
“Well, you know, we haven’t released our third and fourth puppet images and that’s really intentional. They are like nothing I’ve seen before, puppet-wise,” Tiegs said, with high priase for puppet designer Kelly Barrington. “Our Audrey 4 (the plant puppet) is over eight feet tall. Our last puppet requires hydraulic lifts.”
Tiegs says audiences will be getting what they pay for – and more.
“Theatre Sarnia does phenomenal theatre that I would say is on par with theatre that you’re paying hundreds of dollars to see,” Tiegs said, adding shining praises for her fellow theatre alumni — of which are all local talent in the production.
The cast has been rehearsing since mid-July with the last three weeks before showtime rehearsing every day. That includes Brent Wilkinson as Voice of Audrey II; Cian Poore as The Dentist; Adam Miller as Mushnik; Erin Innes as Crystal; Dar-C Keane as Ronette; Jamie Laing as Chiffon; and Chris MacPherson, Allison Cowan, Kyra Knight and Hala Miller as the Ensemble and Puppeteers.
“I didn’t want to see another recreation of another production. Sarnia doesn’t deserve a recreation of another production,” Tiegs added, noting that they’ve sold-out 50% of the show already. “They deserve to see how these humans came together and created their Little Shop of Horrors.”
Little Shop of Horrors runs October 20-21, and Oct. 25-28, with a matinee on October 22 at Imperial Theatre. For more information, visit https://www.imperialtheatre.net/show/little-shop-of-horrors/.