LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Capitol Theatre, through Oct. 31 (355-2787 or www.arttix.org). Running time: two hours (one intermission).
It's a little bit campy and a little bit rock 'n' roll — and fiendishly fun.
After getting its 2004-05 season off to a rather rocky start (with an "Oliver!" opening night that audiences could not hear), the Broadway in Utah series redeems itself with a touring version of the recent revival of "Little Shop of Horrors" — just in time for the Halloween season.
Instead of wanting mini-size Snickers, however, the central character in this musical version of Roger Corman's notorious film has a bottomless appetite for fresh blood. And not from the corner butcher shop, either.
Things were a little scary on Tuesday night when the show was delayed about 20 minutes. The restless audience was probably wondering if there was going to be another opening-night disaster. But once the curtain went up, all went smoothly.
With hilarious lyrics by the late Howard Ashman (who also wrote the book) and a terrific musical score by composer Alan Menken, this show is a blast.
And — even better — the high-tech, larger-than-life puppet that is Audrey II, worked like clockwork.
As touring shows go, this has a relatively small cast — only 10 performers. But they're all terrific.
Anthony Rapp (who played Mark Cohen in the original Broadway cast of "Rent" — and who, according to Playbill, is on the short list of possibilities to re-create that role in the film version) — is perfectly cast as the nerdish Seymour.
He's a clumsy employee in Mushnik's failing Skid Row floral shop, until he stumbles across a strange plant with Venus Fly Trap tendencies. Seymour names it Audrey II, after the colleague he adores from afar — blonde and battered Audrey, whose boyfriend is a sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello.
Audrey is played by Tari Kelly, who has a knockout voice. James Moye delivers as Orin who is demonically mean — and surfaces later in the show as several other characters, all hoping to capitalize on Seymour and Audrey II's fame.
"I know Seymour's the greatest, but I'm dating a semi-sadist," Audrey sings, while longing for a tract house in the country.
Lenny Wolpe is also a commanding presence as Mushnik, the flower shop owner who, in an attempt to keep Seymour from leaving, decides to adopt him.
There's also a sort of backstreet Greek chorus — Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette (Yasmeen Sulieman, Amina S. Robinson and LaTonya Holmes), who connect all the elements with sassy, insightful musical commentary and choral backup.
Unseen (except for a brief onstage role as a derelict), but certainly heard is Michael James Leslie, who provides the voice of Audrey II — the plant that grows completely out of control as it develops a huge thirst for fresh blood.
Kudos, too, to the puppeteers (Michael Latini and Paul McGinnis) and Brent-Alan Huffman's pit musicians.
Sensitivity rating: It may be comedic but it's also too grisly for young audiences.