Addams Family Musical
Spellbinding masterpiece of modern musical theatre which is sure to last as long as its famous TV counterpart, this current show is drawing crowds back to the theatre and leaving them in howls of laughter.
Based on the original Charles Addams comic strips and latterly on the book by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickmand, Andrew Lippa’s music and lyrics tell the tale of Wednesday Addams (Kingsley Morton), now a teenager, who is ready to spread her wings and fly into the arms of a ‘normal’ boy, Lucas Beineke (Ahmed Hamad).
Of course, Wednesday being an Addams means when the two families get to meet one and another, things aren’t exactly plain sailing. (Quick note – look out for Kingsley in any future shows, she is a powerhouse of a singer, wonderful actor and has impeccable comedy timing).
Head of the house Gomez (Cameron Blakely) is part suave sophisticate and part ‘light on his feet’ fop – Cameron oozes charisma and charm and no little in the funny bones. Torn between keeping Wednesday’s impending announcement a secret and honouring his Mi Amore Morticia’s expectation of complete honesty, Gomez tip toes through the tulips of duplicity. His "Two things/Three Things" is hilarious, his "Happy/Sad" will resonate with any father watching his daughter grow up (and I've done it twice).
The Ying to his Yang, Morticia (Joanne Clifton) is the epitome of a 50’s American ‘mom’ – only wants the best for her family, so long as that ‘best’ is her version on her terms. Joanne is simply wonderful, she naturally glides around the stage effortlessly which just adds to her other-worldly persona. Of course it would be remiss of the director Matthew White if having a ‘Strictly’ champion in the cast he didn’t show us the full range of ‘Morticia’s’ prowess – the Tango De Amor is possibly one of the best routines you’re likely to see on stage this year, I am certain the temperature in the auditorium went up 10 degrees while we watched.
The rest of the family are all afforded plenty of stage time to ensure we feel the whole familiar familial. Grant McIntyre as Pugsley is a brilliant stooge to Wednesday’s torturings while their Grandma (well, ‘somebody’s’ Grandma) Valda Aviks is an ever present lurker just waiting to drop a potion or two.
The Beineke’s visit to the Addams household culminates in them playing The Game (“the game, the game, the game”) – Full Disclosure, a kind of truth or dare whereby they each reveal a deep secret. Aided by some of Grandma’s potions, Alice Beineke (the stunning Kara Lane) casts off her oppressed housewife shawl and challenges her stuck in his ways husband Mal (Sean Kingsley) to do the same or risk losing her forever. Mirroring the same ultimatum that Wednesday has set Lucas (and for that matter Morticia sets Gomez) we are led into a brilliant musical battle of “Crazier than You” – warning, this is the one that will stick in your head and you will suddenly be singing at your partner, children, pets when you get home.
The final 2 main characters are possibly the two favourites from both TV & Screen – Uncle Festa (Scott Paige) and Lurch (Dickon Gough). Scott’s Fester is brilliant – I was fortunate to watch this show twice, once from the circle and then from only 2 rows back in the stalls and to see Scott’s nuanced ‘Festerisms’ is genius; lovestruck by La Lune, devoted to his family and as mad as a box of frogs, he could easily carry a spin off show of his own. As for Lurch, well, Dickon manages to portray the Addams’s butler as though he is 9 feet tall – ominous, broody, creepy and moody, but there are some fabulous stand out moments for which I will not issue any spoilers.
The ensemble all play deceased ancestors of the Addams’ throughout history, ever present as ghoulish onlookers and phantom friends. Keep an eye out for the pictures at the back of the set, there’s almost as much going on there as there is front of stage.
As mentioned earlier we were sat 2 rows from the front in the stalls and as such we have a brilliant view of the band – led by Bob Broad who one can only describe as the Tasmanian Devil on a keyboard – Bob packs so much energy into his band leading (and clearly the band respond to that as could be seen by their laughs and smiles throughout) - it is not only a joy to see but clearly why the performances are so hugely entertaining for everyone.
The Addams Family Musical is touring the UK – if you only go and see one show this year, make this the one, and then take your friends, and then your family, and then your neighbours – Everyone deserves to have a little Addams in their life.