THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Mid Cheshire Youth Theatre
Director: Jenna Finnigan (Youth Leader)
Musical Director: Ian Sherwood
Choreography: Jenna Finnigan
There was a great atmosphere created as the audience filled the auditorium, especially from the younger members. The famous family, with their ghoulish lifestyle, had attracted a large crowd. As soon as “Thing”, the disembodied hand, appeared and clicked its fingers, everyone joined in.
The atmosphere of the Addams’ oddball house was illustrated by the scenery and spooky cloth, both of which were made all the more eerie with inventive lighting. The sound was well balanced keeping the vocals and orchestra in harmony. The principals’ costumes, hair and make-up have to be in the original style of the Charles Addams’ animated characters to be able to create the illusion. Apart from Uncle Fester not being “follically challenged” everyone was recognisable. The overall presentation heightened the characterisations.
The direction was full of detail and it was apparent that a lot of work had gone into rehearsing the company. The stage discipline, and teamwork from the ensemble, was splendid. The choreography echoed the Addams’s weird world and was effortlessly executed. There was a great reading of the score, and all the songs were rightly an extension of the dialogue.
Trusty manservant, Lurch, is one of the hardest members of the family to portray. The acting is pure mime with a few grunts and groans, until he sings. Josh Freestone, as the Zombie valet-de-chambre, effectively carried off the character. There is another household member, Grandma, although nobody knows whose mother she is, but she is an integral part of the ménage. Jess Luty had great fun as the wacky centenarian, amusing the audience with her comic delivery. There is the narrator of the piece, Uncle Fester, who gives an endearing contrast with his love for the moon. Max Houghton captured the pathos of Fester’s persona.
The siblings are Wednesday, played by Phoebe Robinson, and her sado-masochistic brother, Pugsley, played by Albie Gatiss. He it was who proved that it’s cool to be weird. It is Wednesday’s story of how she wants “One Normal Night” to be able to introduce her fiancé, Lucas (Noah Petts) and his parents Alice (Jemma Iveson) and Mal (Ben Mather-Dodd). This all comes to a head at the family dinner when they all play the game, “Full Disclosure”. This turns out to be the turning point and is the collision of their two worlds, the Addams’ and Beineks’. Musically and dramatically, this was the highlight of the production.
Phoebe Robinson as Wednesday Addams is the central character and Phoebe convincingly played the lovesick heroine. The scene between father and daughter was sincerely communicated.
Sean Foster, in his debut role as Gomez, was fearless in his portrayal of the Latin husband. He sustained the characterisation all the way through and made Gomez everyone’s favourite. He was paired with Daisy Dorsch, as the deadpan, Morticia. Daisy was equal in her portrayal, and she and Sean sparred off each other with amusing results.
This acclaimed youth group brought such truthfulness and sincerity to their character playing. This young company served the script and score well. They are learning and adding to their stage skills each time they perform. Their leader/mentor, in her first season with the company, credibly carried forward the baton of her predecessors.