Based on the much-loved 1960s television series and the 1990s movie adaptations, ‘The Addams Family – The Musical Comedy’ gives the ghoulish yet loveable New York clan a whole new lease of life in a different medium.
The transfer to stage is handled well in this revival of the 2010 Broadway hit, which is currently playing at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. Not all is well in Wednesday Addams’ world. Ordinarily happy to torture her brother and mope about in mourning black, she has suddenly and unexpectedly fallen in love with a young man called Lucas and they’ve begun dating. What’s more, he’s bringing his parents to meet her family. Every teenager’s worst nightmare is exacerbated by Wednesday’s macabre home life in a dilapidated mansion in the middle of Manhattan’s Central Park. Surely the zombie butler or her crazy Uncle Fester who is in love with the moon will scare them off?
This production has much in its favour. The cast is universally strong and ably led by Cameron Blakely as Gomez Addams, who comes across as a Hispanic Vincent Price with great comic timing, and former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ professional Joanne Clifton, who is suitably sultry and sexy as Morticia Addams. Their tango in the second act is a highlight that brings the best out of their excellent on-stage chemistry. It’s Kingsley Morton as Wednesday who has the strongest singing voice and plays the stroppy adolescent to perfection. The best scene-stealing moment comes from Kara Lane as Lucas’s shy mother Alice, who bursts into song in a moment of confidence and left last night’s audience stunned and impressed. Supplying the lion’s share of the laughs throughout the evening is Scott Paige as Uncle Fester, who invites you into his strange, obsessional and rather whimsical world.
‘The Addams Family’ is also a feast for the eyes – the set design and costumes are superb and used with great invention. At its heart, it tells a good moral tale about being true to yourself and accepting that all families are crazy in their own way. On the downside, the production is a touch too long. This wouldn’t be noticeable if more of the jokes landed, but there’s a nagging feeling that the one-liners need to come faster and be funnier. There’s also a lack of focus in the plotting. If you embrace somewhat anarchic storytelling, then you’ll be happy enough to allow the main story about Wednesday and Lucas to be sometimes sidelined in the second act. This is definitely a show for those who enjoy a touch of the madcap.
Judging it as a musical, some of the songs are pretty good, though a highlight is undoubtedly Alice’s song ‘Waiting’, which is sandwiched between verses of ‘Full Disclosure’ and brings the curtain down on a strong number at the end of the first act. There are a few throwaway songs that fill enough time to cover for a scenery change, some of which are more successful and deserved than others.
By the end of this thoroughly enjoyable show, we were impressed by the stunning visuals and brilliance of the cast. The weaknesses lie in the source material, rather than in the production. However, with so much talent on the stage and plenty of good humour, the audience has more than enough to keep them entertained until the last ghoul leaves the stage. ‘The Addams Family’ is good, fun family entertainment.
Cast: Cameron Blakely, Joanne Clifton, Scott Paige, Carol Ball, Kingsley Morton, Grant McIntyre, Ryan Bennett, Sean Kingsley, Kara Lane, Ahmed Hamad Director: Matthew White Writer: Rick Elice, Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman Theatre: Churchill Theatre, Bromley Running time: 150 mins Dates: 1st – 5th March 2022 Book now