THE ADDAMS FAMILY
PADOS Youth Theatre Group
Director: Paul Downham
Musical Director: Steve Sandiford
Music supplied by backing tracks
Choreography: Suzi Cleary
Andrew Lippa’s musical creation of Charles Addams notorious cartoon characters, “The Addams Family”, is becoming a firm favourite with community theatre groups. The macabre family found a larger audience with the 1960s TV show, and its popularity was reinforced by the 1991 film. The next step was to musicalize Morticia and Gomez family exploits. This happened in 2007, and here we are today with a slick, modern piece of ghoulish musical theatre.
An open stage showing of the interior of the Addams home, with Lurch moving the cobwebs around, greeted the audience. All the other locations were established with lighting zones and set dressings. Wing space at the Bury Met is at a premium, but by using the auditorium as an entrance for the ancestors, it saved any congestion. The staging was well thought out and created maximum space for the action to take place.
The lighting plot gave depth to the spooky proceedings, and the sound mix was excellent, never interrupting the drama.
The costumes were true to Charles Addams’s concept, making all the characters instantly recognisable. Hair and make-up gave the finishing touches to the motley crew.
Direction guided the young cast around the defined members of the death-obsessed family. Everyone on stage was focused, totally in character, and found the humour within the show. There were a couple of moments that might have been a little too close to festive season business. I didn’t think this was needed as the cast proved they were more than capable of getting the most out of the script. They engaged with the audience and did not let go until the final curtain. Musically a rich sound was achieved. There was thought behind the words, and each number added to the overall developing plot. The choreography was inventive, from the “Thriller” type opening to the stylised, “Tango de Amor”.
There is no show without a chorus/ensemble. For this production they were the ancestors, and they were all individual characters. They are introduced by Uncle Fester, the show’s unofficial narrator. Sean Baker, as the squeaky voiced goon, was funny and displayed good timing. Chapin said, “words are not needed” except for a few groans, The character of Lurch was delivered in total mime. Tyler Acton gave quite a performance as the family’s zombie man servant. Grandma, (nobody seems to know whose mother she is) was humorously portrayed by Georgina Godley.
Pugsley Addams is determining to interrupt his sister’s attempts to become normal. Alfie Leech had fun as the torture loving ghastly brother. Teetering on the side of normality Wednesday Addams is willing to forgo the dark-side for the love of Lucas. Eve Reynolds captured the gloomy deadpan Wednesday. Maybe just a little modulation was need in song delivery. To cement their engagement to each other a dinner is planned by the Addams’s as a way to bring the two families together.
The geeky Mal and Alice Beineke’s animated surprise on entering the Goth Addams mansion sets the scene. Kieran Hurst played Mal with great gusto and Kyamma Cronshaw, as Alice, the rhyme-speaking, all-American Mum, was acted with aplomb. Their son, Lucas, is lost in love with Wednesday, and realises he is morbid enough to make the relationship work. Joshua Ord worked hard as Lucas, proving opposites can work.
Poor Gomez making a promise to Wednesday to keep a secret, and to keep the truth of their engagement from Morticia created comedy mayhem. This is against the family “full disclosure”. Sam Bate gave a polished performance as the Latin lover, Gomez, besotted with his wife. As Morticia, Madeline Jones glided round the stage in the black trademark dress, “cut all the way down to Venezuela”. Madeline maintained the poker face with the occasional sly smile. The sparring with Gomez was neatly timed.
This show had all the elements, as the title song states, “creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky and, erm, cooky. The Addams Family, clickety–click”!