For this production of the campy classic Little Shop of Horrors, the inventive Boxcar Theater converts its entire space, including lobby and outdoor facade, into a skid row flower shop. The opening number, complete with a live accordion brass band, spills out into the SOMA alleyway, and actors costumed as homeless people mingle with real homeless folk wandering through, submerging the audience in this grimy world. Once inside, the B-movie plotline centers on an ever-growing plant hungry for human blood. This involves song, security video footage, blood-splattered plastic draping, and a chorus of grungy street urchins. The adorable chemistry between horticulturist nerd Seymour (John R. Lewis) and his tough girl-with-a-heart-of-gold paramour, Audrey (the excellent Bryn Laux), keeps things light and sweet, while the storm around them plays out like a madcap grindhouse flick. Kevin Clarke wickedly hams it up as the motorcyle-riding, giggle-gas-addicted dentist Orin Scrivello (made famous by Steve Martin in the movie), and the monstrous plant puppet design by Greg Frisbee and Thomas John is impressive. Even with some pacing problems and weaker voices, this brilliantly conceived and designed production is devilish fun.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays. Starts: June 1. Continues through July 8, 2011