Call me oblivious, but I'd never noticed the swift creek at Swift Creek Mill Theatre before.
It's not like I hadn't been there, I just hadn't heard the roar of the creek that I did today, undoubtedly a result of the almost non-stop rain we've had since Prince died. And roaring is no exaggeration. The original gristmill must have been wildly productive with that kind of water behind it.
Foto Boy and I were there for "Little Shop of Horrors," which, like the creek, I hadn't seen before. Oh, sure, I'd seen the 1986 film version but the play? Never.
And the eight-month run at Swift Creek Mill in 1986? That was the year I landed in Richmond and was far too busy adjusting to life in the county after Dupont Circle to pay attention to the local theater scene. Today allowed me to correct that.
Our pre-show lunch of salads, Nicoise and Cobb, at Garnett's ran long and as we slid into our seats a few short minutes before curtain, the woman next to us observed, "You're late!" and then smiled to show she was joking.
Everyone's a mother (or grandmother) at Swift Creek it seems.
Everything about the play was fun and well-executed, from helium-voiced Audra almost unrecognizable in a blond pageboy wig as Audrey, to Ian's earnest and nebbishy Seymour to Adam's shape-shifting takes on too many characters to count - the abusive dentist, the Life magazine reporter, the bum barfing on the street, Mrs. Luce - to the do-wop girls acting as a Greek chorus in bouffants, everybody hit their marks and projected energetic devotion to the comedy horror story.
Director Tom Width ably filled in for the actor who usually plays shop owner Mr. Mushnik, giving us a different "Little Shop" than most people have seen.
It was also a thrill to hear Audra and Ian sing "Suddenly Seymour," a song I've heard plenty of times at the Ghostlight After Party and any number of theater parties, but never live as part of the show.
Let's just say I can see why certain boys love to ham it up singing it after a few drinks.
And when all was said and done, the action wrapped up with a gaping Audrey II advancing on the theater audience while leaves and branches dropped down from the lighting to engulf us.
What else would we do during intermission but trek down to the creek to admire its high water and relentless rushing despite the enormous tree trunks clogging it? When I requested that Foto Boy snap me in front of this watery marvel, he tells me his cloud is full.
Do I even have a cloud, I ask of him. "No, of course you don't, you're Karen," he says. Which means if, as the cast sang, the meek will inherit, chances are slim I'll be getting any of that action, either.
Don't have a cloud
Slow to notice a creek
Living out loud
Surely there's a song in there, right?