The Addams Family (Tour) - Musical Theatre Review

Duh-duh-da-da. Click-click.

And so The Addams Family musical begins, as it should, with the audience click-clicking away until we burst slap bang back into their world, welcoming long-dead Addams family members into the house. And we’re quite a few years on from where we left them in the Nineties. Little Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher) is all grown up and has fallen in love with the worryingly normal Lucas Beineke (an adorable Oliver Ormson) and it’s made her a little, well, normal-feeling too. They are secretly engaged and now his normal parents are coming over to the Addams' crib (crypt?) for an evening of dinner and drinks. Cue Gomez trying to ensure a smooth evening, the Beinekes being scared out of their wits and learning a little something on the way, and some cute cameos from all your favourite family members.

It was always a strength of the Addams stories that despite their eccentricities, the family are usually the most loving and functional family in the story. It is usually the Addams versus the normal world, so it’s interesting to see the family dynamic challenged in this outing. Gomez and Morticia are in a rocky patch as she discovers he knew about Wednesday’s engagement all along, Pugsley (Grant McIntyre) mourns the loss of his sister and her terrific torture, and Les Dennis’ Uncle Fester is up to some ghostly meddling. Of course, everything comes right in the end and true love triumphs over all.

The catchy music from Andrew Lippa haunts you for days afterward and is delivered with aplomb by the ensemble. The choreography from Alistair David is also fun to watch and full of amusing touches. The gruesome and ghoulish movements particularly work during Morticia’s song Just Around The Corner. Much of the (after)life of the show comes from the omnipresence of the family spooks, gleefully bringing the clever stage to life, whether haunting picture frames, or waggling objects in front of the clueless Beinekes. Each has a nicely defined character when required, but manage to blend cohesively as an ensemble. Great work from all and a real masterclass in creating characterful ensembles (helped of course by the amazing costumes designed by Diego Pitarch.)

Wednesday is the focus of the show here and Fletcher pulls it off well. There is a menacing grin in her eye and it is enjoyable to see the character as a fully-grown adult – a gleeful mix of Morticia’s stoic sex appeal and Gomez’s sense of fun. Her rendition of Pulled is infectiously enjoyable, and her sparky performance really comes to the fore during the incredibly catchy Crazier than You.

Samantha Womack has a nice way with Morticia although they are big black heels to fill. Her Morticia seems more aloof than ever, with a twinge of manipulative housewife that seems slightly out of character, but her singing and dancing are on point and she sparkles in her scenes with Charlotte Page as Alice Beineke. However, this troubled Morticia does allow for Gomez (a joyous and energetic Cameron Blakely) to become the heart and soul of the show. Blakely is watchable throughout, as he gambols, dances, and quips across the stage, bringing an engaging energy to the show.

And who would have thought Les Dennis was capable of breathing real heartfelt emotion into a character? Bravo! Unrecognisable as Uncle Fester, his beautiful love song to the moon, The Moon and Me, is genuinely moving. A slight misting of the eyes too for Gomez’ lament/celebration in watching his daughter grow into a young woman in Happy/Sad. There’s more of an emotional punch in this musical than you might expect!

There’s some fun little gags to pick up on if you’re an Addams fanatic, especially regarding the family link to Grandma (gleefully played by Valda Aviks.) Indeed, some of the lines (whether through their delivery or writing choices) are funny if you are paying attention, but seem to fall flat to most of the audience. Be sure to switch your ears on, there are definitely some good laughs to be had from the dialogue and not just the visuals if you are on the ball.

Directorially and creatively, there are clever choices throughout from Matthew White. The use of the intricate set is interesting, there is some nice puppetry work (and a few cameos from Thing!), and the gentle rib-nudging and winking to the audience works well. There’s also a great moment from Dickon Gough’s enigmatic Lurch right at the end, but I won’t spoil it… The Addams Family musical may not ever be a complete run-away success, but there is definitely the whisper of a cult hit here. Move towards the darkness and embrace your inner Addams… Click click.

The Addams Family – The Musical Comedy
Royal and Derngate
9th May – 13th May, 2017

Currently at New Wimbledon Theatre til 20th May 2017, then continuing on tour.
Details at -

https://www.theaddamsfamily.co.uk/tour/

© Carly Halse - Reviewed on Tuesday 9th May, 2017

Author's review: 
5