The Addams Family is one of those families that almost everyone knows, right? Duh duh duh dum *click click*.
The spookily morbid fictional family has been around for almost 80 years, with a famous film version in 1991 and the well crafted musical hitting stages in 2010, courtesy of Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The musical actually follows a later story, that of Wednesday and her fresh-faced love interest, Lucas Beineke. As the young couple embark upon their unusual relationship and a chaotic dinner,Wednesday bestows as secret upon only her father; many dark and funny consequences ensue, as Gomez contemplates how to keep both his daughter and wife happy, without breaking Wednesday’s trust.
The cast of the UK tour is jam packed with big names, such as Eastenders favourite Samantha Womack as Morticia (side note: this is now one of the roles I would LOVE to play), alongside the hilarious Les Dennis as Uncle Fester. And as soon as Carrie Hope Fletcher announced on her YouTube channel ‘ItsWayPastMyBedtime’ that she would be playing Wednesday Addams in the first ever UK tour of the musical comedy, I knew I had to get tickets.
From the minute you enter the theatre, the set immediately creates the perfect Addams atmosphere, and with the show opened by none other than the iconic “Thing”, the lone hand who is such a famous part of the family, it is clear from the start that this show, although relatively new in terms of musicals, is a contender.
I loved the new innovative touches that each actor brings to their iconic characters; Fletcher wows as Wednesday, cocking her eyebrow when given the chance to look menacing, and is easily matched by the hilarious Gomez, played by Cameron Blakely. The Beineke family also provided the perfect ‘normal’ contrast to the Addams’; in particular Charlotte Page, as Lucas’ mother Alice, showcased perfectly the stereotypical oppressed-housewife-turned-wild-one. Whilst the personalities of the original characters were maintained, the fresh take was the perfect update for a new audience, some who may have never encountered the Addams’ (I know right?!).
Having only heard a couple of the songs from this production before watching it onstage, I was hardly prepared for the brilliance of its score; company numbers such as ‘Full Disclosure’ did not disappoint, whilst Gomez’ solos, all from the comedic ‘Two Things’ to the beautifully paternal ‘Happy Sad’ were perfectly suited to the character. And it goes without saying that Wednesday’s solo ‘Pulled’ was delivered excellently, both technically and acting performance wise.
Finally, credit where credit is due to the ensemble of Ancestors, who supported every scene and transition with their individual characterisation and their consistent gloomy presence; the flawlessly executed company dance numbers truly completed this production and brought a new energy to the darkness of this family.
The Addams Family is playing at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 10th June and continues its UK tour until late 2017. If you can get to see this – do not hesitate!
Who is your favourite Addams Family member?
(FULL DISCLOSURE: This is probably my favourite musical comedy!)