There are school plays that one only likes, sort of, because one’s personal offspring is in them. Many of us have, er, enjoyed a few of those performances over the years. It can be hard for me, especially when it comes to musical theatre. I’m a musician and my ears bleed easy. I love the effort and the expression and the giving of self and the art in general and everything in particular. I swear I love it to bits.
The only painful moments during tonight’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors at Nepean High School were when the microphones malfunctioned. It happened a couple of times early in the two-hour performance. A technical thing. It didn’t make the ears bleed but it made the heart leap in one’s throat. I felt for the actors who, noticing they couldn’t hear themselves, sang louder to be heard a capella.
Otherwise they flew through endless scene and costume changes, songs, numbers, choreographies, and about six thousand million visual moving parts like pros.
What a wonderful bunch of kids.
I grew up and went to school in francophone Québec, which I mention by way of explaining that I had never seen that play before. In the program there is a notice to the effect that this classic was adapted to some extent to 2023 realities, with feedback from the student performers. Which is fine. There’s also a warning that the play involves fairly graphic elements of gender-based violence. This was used as a narrative tool.
And used spectacularly well. I don’t know whether to be amazed or terrified that these lovely teenagers are so apt at capturing this sort of abuse and violence so vividly.
You probably know the story more than I do so I won’t go into that, except to say I enjoyed it mightily. Special mentions to Saul Feldman, who plays Seymour, Adam Rowan who is amazingly despicable as a the baddie Orin and Maria Delaney who makes Audrey touching, strong and incredibly relatable.
But really, you know, they were all good. I was especially taken with one of the three trumpet players.
Congrats to them all and to the dedicated teachers who coach them.