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MTG's Little Shop could be entertaining, but suffers from over-acting

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

Presented by the Musical Theatre Guild.

Directed by Michael Friedhoff.

Kresge Little Theatre, September 1-3

and September 7-10.

By DAVID STERN

OVERALL, I WAS UNHAPPY with Little Shop of Horrors. While some of the jokes are hilarious, there are long gaps between them. The version presented by the Musical Theater Guild, despite a good effort by director Michael Friedhoff '90, comes out awkward at times. The acting (or rather, over-acting) varies from a stilted Douglas Forbes as Mr. Mushnik to an outrageously funny Susan Elia W' 91 as the ditzy Audrey and a charming F. Burris Jackson '90 as Seymour.

The songs, which alternate between pseudo-'50s doo-wop and standard Broadway show tunes, are uniformly weak. The ersatz '50s songs would never have been written by any self-respecting songwriter in the 1950s and were more self-parody than parody. The vocals are generally good, especially the Crystal/Chiffon/Ronnette trio in their doo-wop harmonies. The band, while not exactly the Late Night band, is adequate. It features some smooth bluesy guitar work by musical director Dan Hosken '90 on "Now," and an excellent pianist.

The set and props are well done and colorful. Special praise goes to designers of plant/puppet, Audrey II, which singlehandedly livens up the stage.

The play does make certain attempts to satirize American society in its jokes and plot, but the satire somehow fails to strengthen the play. It seems overwhelmed by the inadequacies of the script as a whole, and sticks out each time it appears.

As with MTG's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum last May, there may be many people who will enjoy this musical. The songs are catchy, and the production has its lively moments, so if you liked Forum, perhaps Little Shop might provide an entertaining evening. But although Little Shop did have its good points, they did not compensate for its weak ones; the bottom line is that I was bored.