“Little Shop of Horrors” musically spooky show

Tania Jachens

“You better tell your mama something’s gonna get her. She better; everybody better beware!” warn the Doo-Wop girls as the lights go down on Villanova Student Musical Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Just in time for Halloween, this musical packs in laughs, chills and thrills while telling the story of a man-eating plant and the unsuspecting characters it encounters.

When a meek florist’s apprentice named Seymour finds a very strange and interesting plant, he is catapulted into the limelight as the town’s celebrity. Finally, he has a chance of getting out of Skid Row and being with Audrey, the girl of his dreams. But, is he willing to pay the price that comes with maintaining his giant, bloodthirsty plant?

Once again, VSMT delivers with Little Shop, a fun show that deftly balances the stereotypical schmaltz found in musicals with a darker, more sinister edge.

All of the leads are equally skilled in acting and singing, with the plant being no exception.

Freshman Michael Libonati skillfully evolves from quirky and endearing to a man on the edge, with a voice that brings down the house in his portrayal of Seymour. Mallory McNeal vamps it up as Audrey, who you cannot help but root for during the entire show. The florist shop owner, Mr. Mushnik, is hilariously played by J.J. Costabile, complete with an over-the-top accent.

Molly Minogue, Emily Walsh, and Ann Dillon play the trio of Doo-Wop girls, who are fabulously sassy with incredible diva voices and smooth moves to match.

Audrey’s dentist boyfriend, played by Christopher Irving, is equal parts crazy and hysterical with a death scene unlike anything else in musical theater.

The plant, which grows into three different sizes throughout the course of the show, is voiced by Michael Twomey and puppeteered by Ian Merizalde, who are in-sync and give the plant a life of its own.

With plenty of upbeat songs, the show’s choreography shines, especially through the Dreamgirls-like dancing by the Doo-Wop girls and the tango between Mr. Mushnik and Seymour.

The show’s set makes the most of its small stage with Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop as the focal point and the rest of Skid Row on the side. However, the most impressive part is how the giant plant fits into the picture, which you will have to see to believe.

With a directing team full of VSMT production alumni (directed by Melissa Nally with assistance from Meghan McKeown, musically directed by Andrew Hanley, and choreographed by Corinne Sermania), all the show’s elements fuse and flow smoothly.

With interesting characters, fun songs and an unforgettable villain, this show will keep you laughing and thoroughly entertained.

In order to get into the Halloween spirit, come see “Little Shop of Horrors” at St. Mary’s auditorium on Thursday or Friday at 8 p.m. or on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale in Connelly Center.