By Danielle Farrow
The Addams Family are iconic and the characters particular, with fans tending to have favourites. Here, the story focuses on daughter Wednesday’s romance with a young man from a ‘respectable’ family and what happens when he and his family come round to dinner. Wednesday has confided in her father Gomez, but gained his promise not to tell her mother, Morticia, that she is actually engaged – and Gomez has never kept anything a secret from his wife, nor would she ever tolerate such a thing…
This Broadway musical, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and based on the creations of Charles Addams, is a delight in its wit – with plenty of fine one-liners – and in its faithful rendition of characters and of the mores of family and society filtered through macabre Addams’ eyes. Andrew Lippa’s score is full of entertaining lyrics and quickly infiltrates your head; it packs plenty of punch and so, here, do the students of MGA Academy of Performing Arts. Not all lyrics are discernible and work specifically on acting would be very useful, but overall these students perform with confidence and fine American accents, including in the chorus of ghoulish Addams Family members – full of famous dead faces – wonderfully occupying the boxes and entertainingly improvising with each other and the audience.
Of particular note, are the performances of: Rhona Hay as the mother of Wednesday’s young man – believable and strong in both singing and acting; Kieran Wynne as Lurch – stealing scenes with skill in expression, voice and timing; and Peter Vint as Uncle Fester, who carried exposition, song, physicality and comedy with charm and twinkling aplomb. This kind of panache was sought by those playing Morticia and Gomez, but not really found, despite her striking movement and his times of suave engagement, and as a pair they lacked the absolutely necessary connection and passion of this famously enamoured couple. Others showed strong singing skills, but generally these students could benefit from the elements of acting that engage the emotions and flow through an actor’s entire body and performance, fully connected and free.
All, though, have their shining moments, and musical highlights include the climactic ‘Full Disclosure’, charming ‘The Moon and Me’ and catchy, well-entwined, ‘Crazier Than You’, along with energetic and skillfully-executed dance numbers choreographed by Murray Grant. The design works very well, with a number of locations quickly and atmospherically established, and director Andrew Gowland and Musical Director Simon Hanson have produced an accomplished piece of entertainment.
The Addams Family is a highly amusing and engaging musical, and here it is delivered by performers starting out in their careers with confidence, some considerable vocal and physical skill, and a whole lot of sheer, energetic fun.
Fri. 27th – Sat. 28th June, 7.30pm and Sat. 28th, 2.30pm @ King’s Theatre
Note: Saturday’s matinee performance features a different cast