Review: The Addams Family

Tuesday saw the opening night of musical comedy The Addams Family premier at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre as part of it’s UK tour. 

Musical Theatre’s Kookiest Musical ‘The Addams Family’ Comes to Canterbury

The musical comedy tour directed by Matthew White kicked off in April with its opening night at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and the company are only just getting started with the live tour based on Charles Addams’ infamous TV family that has been entertaining its audiences for nearly 80 years. Nevertheless, the Addams family are back to entertain and amuse us in a medium you wouldn’t necessarily expect – and yet it works wonderfully. With music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Andrew Lippa and book by the multi-award winning Jersey Boys writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, audiences are certainly in for a theatrical treat.

(Left to right) Valda Aviks as Grandma, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday, Dickon Gough as Lurch, Cameron Blakely as Gomez, Samantha Womach as Mortica and Grant McIntyre as Pugsley Addams. Production Photography Matt Martin

What’s it about?

The story follows Wednesday Addams, now matured into adulthood as she negotiates one of the biggest changes in a young person’s life – falling in love. The Addams family must learn to come to terms with and open their home to Wednesday’s beau and his seemingly ordinary family for just “one normal night”. But naturally, this is easier said than done. Cue the dinner party from hell, as is only appropriate when the Addams family are involved, with the added challenge for Gomez Addams courtesy of his only daughter who confides in him that her boyfriend Lucas is a little more than just her boyfriend.

First Thoughts

Though seemingly quirky and unconventional, The Addams Family flawlessly works, especially on a British audience with its macabre humour, immaculately timed one-liners and flickering looks towards the audience. The ever re-occurring Ancestors have been gloriously well-directed to keep both the audience and the Beineke family on their toes with an almost omnipresent addition to each scene, creating a truly creepy and authentic Addams family aesthetic. Contributing to this oxymoron of being both welcoming and eerie, is the fantastic designer Diego Pitarch who expertly created the set so wonderfully appropriate to bring the Addams family to the stage. Also worthy of note is the genius of choreographer Alistair David whose slick and well executed choreography brought everything about this sharp-witted musical together.

Cameron Blakely as Gomez Addams Production Photography Matt Martin

The Cast

Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday and Cameron Blakely as Gomez Addams clearly led the cast in artistic talent, comedic timing and a true to life depiction of a father/daughter relationship which overshadowed the Wednesday/Lucas love story. Valda Aviks’s Grandma and Dickon Gough‘s Lurch are comedy gold with their perfect comedic timing, unfortunately they are maintained in the background and not shown off as much as they arguably deserve. Despite not having much of a plot of his own, Les Dennis’s Fester Addams is the momentum behind the show, forming the strongest connection with the audience as it’s narrator. His version of romance seems rather out of place and added in purely to give him more involvement in the show toward the end as his incentive to support Wednesday’s love plot.

Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia Addams Production Photography Matt Martin

Final Thoughts

The family relationship is the stand out bond for the Addams family, even if Gomez and Morticia spend the majority of the show in a marital fix. It is clear that the on-going theme of the show is that as strong as love is, it is always “family first and family last” and that the irrevocable love of a family is the strongest bond. Despite the Beineke family being depicted as the ‘normal’ ones, they  learn this invaluable lesson from the Addams’s as they realise that there is no definition for normal and that “full disclosure” is no bad thing in order to maintain a successful relationship like that of Morticia and Gomez Addams. Lucas and Wednesday learn a lot from their parents about what love really means and leads them to consider if they really are meant for one another. The show is ultimately an entertaining comedy that leaves you happily believing that there is room for individuality in this world and that there is some out there for everyone – even a cross-bow loving teenager.

WATCH: Carrie Hope Fletcher aka Wednesday Addams singing ‘Pulled’ from the musical

Find out more about the show on the tour website here or see their Twitter page.

The Addams Family runs at the Marlowe Theatre from Tuesday 23rd May to Saturday 27th May 2017.

To book tickets contact the Marlowe Box Office on: 01227 787787

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