The Addams Family The Musical Comedy
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Aria Entertainment and Music and Lyrics in association with The Festival Theatre Edinburgh
New Wimbledon Theatre
Like Star Wars or Doctor Who, The Addams Family looms large in the collective imagination of the public—you don’t need to have seen the comic strip, TV series or even film to know this creepy, kooky family and their infamous theme tune.
On this premise, it’s a delight to dive into their comedically miserable lives through the medium of musical theatre. A love story with dancing ghosts, medieval torture instruments and a cameo appearance by the moon—this show has it all!
Set in the Addam’s Central Park home, the plot revolves around a now-teenage Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher) who has fallen in love with a boy called Lucas (Oliver Ormson). Wanting "Just One Normal Night", she invites his parents for dinner but entrusts her father Gomez (Cameron Blakely) with a secret. Tensions escalate and true characters are revealed as the dinner party spirals and a suspicious Morticia (Samantha Womack) pressures Gomez for the truth.
With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the show perfectly captures the zany family through a mixture of dry wit, physical comedy and big production numbers.
"Pulled" and "Crazier than You" might feature some of the biggest notes of the evening but "Just Around the Corner" and "The Moon and Me" provide a taste of old-style music hall. Combined with the emotional "Happy Sad" and sexy "Tango De Amor" the pace zips along incorporating many different musical styles and of course one or two impressive company numbers.
Cameron Blakely is an irresistible Gomez playing him with charm, sincerity and such precise physicality that it provides many of the laughs in act one. With a twinkle in his eye and appropriately thick accent, he is clearly relishing the role and milking its comedic worth.
Similarly, Carrie Hope Fletcher embodies Wednesday Addams wholeheartedly and is a ball of all-singing, all-scheming energy on the stage. Wednesday is one of the more difficult roles from a vocal standpoint but Fletcher does not shy away from the challenge, demonstrating why she is one of the UK’s rising musical theatre stars.
Hardly recognisable, Les Dennis enjoys breaking the fourth wall with a beautifully cheeky Fester. Complete with rasping voice and infectious giggle, his character is somewhat underused but he acts as a useful narrator for the audience whilst enjoying a love affair with the moon.
Representing "normality", the uptight Beineke family provide a good contrast to the chaotic Addams and, as Lucas’s mother Alice, Charlotte Page wows with an unexpected solo during "Full Disclosure". With shades of Janet from Rocky Horror, once her true feelings are on display she doesn’t hold back.
The ensemble of ancestors also shine, executing Alistair David’s perfectly synched dances whilst still managing to create individual characters. Their voices also add a depth to the company numbers, enabling some of the creepier moments to sound ominously operatic.
With antique shutters, fading portraits, sweeping staircase and oversized front gates, the Addams Family mansion is almost a character itself—the proscenium arch always keeping the audience within the walls of the house. Cunningly created by Diego Pitarch, the entire design of the production is Disney Gothic—dark and brooding but never enough to be scary.
Matthew White’s tight direction ensures a quick pace and one-liners that are delivered with aplomb.
Frequently funny with a devilishly good score and a book full of bite, The Addams Family is a must-see show for anyone wanting a comedically kooky night out.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston