AUBURN — “Little Shop of Horrors,” the current production of Community Little Theatre (CLT), makes full use of some extraordinary talent among the area’s actors and backstage personnel, and the result is a crowd-pleasing combination of comedy and song.

Michael Litchfield and Christine Gill are an excellent match in the show’s lead roles. Litchfield, who is a veteran of 20-plus CLT shows and many more in the area, plays Seymour, a meek florist shop employee. Gill makes her first appearance on this stage as Audrey, Seymour’s co-worker and the object of his diffident affection. Gill has numerous regional theatrical credits.

Both Seymour and Audrey are ultimately the victims of their own timidity and the selfishness and corruption of just about everyone around them. Despite their shortcomings, Seymour and Audrey are the only ones with any scruples in a world where the human race is on a course for ruin.

Gill’s rendition of “Somewhere That’s Green” is a highlight of the show. It’s a satirical desire for home and family that is sweet and poignant in this play’s absurd setting.

Litchfield’s numbers include an excellent rendition of “Suddenly, Seymour” with Gill and a ’60s-type girl group, as well as solo work in “Grow for Me” and “Sudden Changes.”

In this cautionary tale, Audrey II is Seymour’s new botanical discovery … a talking plant with an insatiable taste for human blood and flesh and a secret goal of world domination. Audrey II grows from modest plant-pot proportions to a room-filling size. It’s accomplished by some imaginative Muppet-like puppetry that is the centerpiece for the outlandish premise of “Little Shop of Horrrors.”

Two supporting actors earn high marks for their superb work.

Derrick Lacasse literally throws his whole body into the role of Orin, a manically sadistic dentist. Seymour can’t abide Orin’s abuse of Audrey, and he realizes that Orin’s best fate would be in Audrey II’s gory diet. Lacasse, a K-8 music teacher at Saint Dominic Academy, had memorable roles in productions including Monmouth Community Players’ recent “Cabaret,” and CLT’s “Into the Woods,” Hairspray,” “Spamalot” and “Aida.”

Lacasse gives an over-the-top performance in the show’s iconic dentist office scene where out-of-control laughing gas leads to his welcome demise.

Justin Pelletier, a 14-year veteran of CLT, gives a spot-on portrayal of crotchety Mr. Mushnick, owner of the skid row flower shop. He shows reluctant compassion under a tough demeanor. Pelletier contributes effectively to several duets and ensemble musical numbers.

The skid row trio of singers named for ’60s-era vocal groups (Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette) are excellent in their Motown-tinged commentary throughout the show. They are played by Kay Warren, Felicia McLeod and Lindsay Cagney.

Rebecca Singer supplies the voice of Audrey II from a platform above the florist shop, where the five-piece orchestra directed by Rebecca Caron is located.

Riley McCurdy is the puppeteer of the fearsome plant in various stages of its growth.

A large staff and crew are responsible for a complex set that features the florist shop as well as sidewalk and fire escapes populated by the denizens of skid row.

Director Vincent S. Ratsavong, in his program notes, said he wanted to “return to the heart of the story.” He credits the cast and crew with valuable assistance in that attempt.

Remaining performances of “Little Shop of Horrors” are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 21-23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24.

Performances are at the Great Falls Performing Arts Center, 30 Academy St., Auburn.

For tickets call the box office at 207-783-0958 or go online to www.laclt.com.


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