Theatre Review: The Addams Family
The Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s debut production of The Addams Family left audiences laughing and clicking to the beat of one of the most irresistible of theme songs composed.
The Addams Family follows a grown and soon to be married Wednesday Addams, played by the mousey yet mighty Sophie Price. Price wore more than a wig when we she took on the role, her rendition of the character was carried by her uncanny Wednesday-esc demeanour and versatile voice, she showed audiences it takes an equal balance of cold unfeeling glares and skin-shivering ballads to get Wednesday’s way. Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with a seemingly ordinary young man Lucas Beineke, played by Zac Crisan, but as their worlds clash both characters must deal with their romantic reverberation and naturally chaos ensues.
Lucas at first glance seems to be dosed in normality, however as he is contrast against more Addams – and even his own family –his own delightful darkness begins to ignite. Zac Crisan walks the line between gentleman and gruesome incredibly well, the actor drip feeds this equilibrium throughout the production so well that by the final act theatre-goers are relieved to find Lucas was almost as warped as his in-laws. Lucas and Wednesday’s love affair teases audiences with a glimpse of young Morticia and Gomez Addams, a dynamic rarely explored but one paired nicely with the characters as matriarch and patriarch figures.
By bias opinion Gomez, performed by a regal Reagan Warner, was the best Addams. The dilemma he’s pushed into by his wife, daughter and own ideals is something akin to every father and family dynamic, that in combination with Gomez’s flamboyant romanticism and wit is a recipe for a crowd crippled by laughter. Reagan Warner wore the mantle left by all the Gomez-past so well it fit better than his suits – which had all the necessary outlandish frills and sleeves. Though a poet is only as good as his muse, luckily for Gomez Addams he’s blessed with the morbidly-moreish Morticia Addams.
Morticia Addams, played by the tantalizingly talented Georgia Murray, spent most of the play being misdirected by her husband and daughter. To two, with the help of Uncle Fester and a troop of ghostly ancestors, tried to hide the truth of Wednesday and Lucas’s marriage from the matriarch, but like any secret kept from Mum it soon all blows up in the Addams’ face. Morticia stepped off the stage and right into the day-dreams of the audience, but be warned Gomez and his Spanish-steel will endure no fraternisation. Gomez and his flirtatious fervour for his wife is captured perfectly in this production, with both Murray and Warner embodying the ebb and flow of their partnership – not to mention the excellent repartee between the pair.
On the other side of the fence the Beineke family stand, deceptively normal and nuclear in every way. At face value Alice (Georgia Bernard), Mal (Michael Mills) and Lucas Beineke are your every day family, but as the scenes progress the only normal thig about the three Beineke’s are their clothes. With the Beineke family dynamic juxtaposed against the Addams Family it brings the audience to question what it is to be normal, and that good and bad aren’t necessarily the same as right and wrong. The actors of the Beineke Family are great at encapsulating the secrets of suburbia and walk around wearing the skeletons from their closets like true polite psychopaths.
Special mentions are in order for the characters that weren’t bathed by the limelight, but still left the audience cackling, like Sebastian Witt and his enjoyable execution of Pugsley Addams, never has a beer-belly been worn with such poise. Uncle Fester (played by Barry Haworth) and his orchestra of Addams ancestors was the festering spine and ectoplasmic backbone of the production, without these characters the Addams and Beineke Families would be still be in disarray and the audience wouldn’t have laughed nearly as much. Grandma Addams (Sandra Adsett) and Lurch (Justin Wallace) had incredible physical presence and allowed for both actors to display the potency of physical comedy in live theatre.
The Addams Family musical tackles many of the same dilemmas quintessential to all families. It explores themes of love, loyalty and normality with a healthy dose of both slapstick and quips, while still possessing a great of character development, toe-tapping musical numbers and very well received social commentary. The Addams Family is story about acceptance, be it your inner-demons or your in-laws, and is a fantastic night out for the dead, living and audience.
The Addams Family will be performed from the 3rd to the 19th of November at the Redcliffe Musical Theatre. Visit www.redcliffemusicaltheatre.com for tickets.