The Addams family (July 2016)
Director: Carolyne Smith
Choreographer: Cathie Henry
Written by : Marshall Brickam and Rick Elise
The Addams Foundation requested this musical be based on The Addams Family cartoons by Charles Adam, and not the American TV show.
To set the mood of things to come, the front of house for this production was appropriately dressed. Judging by the audience reaction it did its job.
Nearly all the iconic family household is included, from Gomez to Cousin “It”. There is just “Thing”, the bodiless hand servant missing, except for a brief pre curtain overture appearance. The story for this musical adventure is the forthcoming visit of Wednesday's new normal boyfriend, Lucas, with his parents, and the announcement that they intend to get married.
All the many scenes were covered by a clever concept of swagging-out mid tabs stage left and right exposing different inset scenes. Along with the full stage scenes the show’s pace was never interrupted. Stage manager, Laurence Partington, and his crew ran a very tight ship, including the props team.
Costumes are set down by the original creator and were duplicated for this production. Each character was so easily recognisable, just by what they were wearing. Stylised makeup for the living, the dead and undecided, lifted the characters off the page.
Lighting has to go the extra mile to create the atmosphere for this spooky musical. This was achieved, finishing off the overall creepy look. The sound was mixed well do that music and voice were equal partners.
The strong ensemble presentation and contribution complemented the piece. In the part of Lurch, the butler, was Chris Holding. Chris gave an enjoyable comedy rendition of the muted gentle giant.
Steve Jackson not only looked the part of Uncle Fester but he also delivered a well-drawn character. Colourful characterisations of Grandma (Eleanor Ferguson) and the brief entrance of Cousin “It” were integral to the “One Normal Night” goings on.
The normal night was laid on for the Beineke’s Mal and Alice, played by Phil Dickinson and Bethan Littlewood. They both served the script well.
Heading the family is Gomez, suave, sword fencing and Latin in manner who is passionately in love with Morticia. Chris MacDonald gave a credible performance and Cathie Henry had fun as the sexy Morticia in her dress “cut right down to Venezuela”. Pugsley, the youngest Addam, was played to good effect by Luke Ellam.
Playing the lovers, Mr Normal, Lucas Beineke, suitably played by Dom Peters, and in the role of Wednesday Addams “being pulled in a new direction“ was Louise McCarthy. Newcomer Louise neglected none of the drama giving a well-conceived performance.
The invited guests, and the conscious efforts to make the dinner party go smoothly, makes perfect opportunities for musical drama. Although the music is not so memorable, if you are seeing the characters for the first time this show is enjoyable and holds an audience's attention.
“Are you unhappy, darling?” “Oh, yes. Completely”. Is it “Tango de Amore” or is it a “Move Toward the Darkside”? The audience will make its decision. This production captured the essence of the musical, “When you are an Addams you need to have a sense of humour”.