We are over the moon to have received another five star review from our friends at Corr Blimey! Read on below...
Directed by Lewis C. Baird
Assistant Direction by Jack Masson
Choreography by Taylor Doherty
Vocal Coaching by Erin Munro
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Instinctively, the audience clicks their fingers.
For over eighty years, the gruesome and charming family of gloom and doom has found ways to reinvent and adapt to the new cultural “in”. From the satire of the ideal American family to television, film, and animation, it was only time before The Addams Family would land at the doors of Musical Theatre. And thank heavens they did.
And it all kicks off as Wednesday Addams does the unthinkable, grows up, and falls in love with someone normal. Torn between lying to his wife and helping his daughter, Gomez Addams finds himself hosting the worst possible kind of family dinner. And nothing, absolutely nothing will go to plan. Except for Forth Childrens Theatre, who couldn’t have had a better go at this if they tried.
The lynchpin of the family and much of the production’s success hinges on Bobby Duncan’s performance of the lothario and (in his mind) head of the family Gomez, and they nail every element – particularly Taylor Doherty’s choreography. This is not an easy role to undertake – too comical, and it strips Gomez of that charm and agency they have at the centre of the plot. Too serious, and the gags fall flat. He’s kept in check by the seemingly distant, icy, yet passionate and the true centre of their family, the iconic Morticia Addams is carried this evening by Mya Richardson (alternating with Mhairi Smith).
The proud parents to two of the world’s youngest sadomasochists: Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. Jenna Masson (who alternates with Lara Shanks in their first production) takes on the de-facto lead role of the plot, driving it forward as the scowling Wednesday Addams with enough angst and gothic horror edge to ensure audiences are in for an evening of dry wit and humour. They never lose character, and neither does Bibi Coane, who shares the role of the youngest Addams with Neve McClelland. A charming, more minor role, but one full of giddiness and memorable moments – one’s Coane relishes.
Impressively, scene changes are relatively speedy, handled quickly by Lewis C Baird’s direction – often utilising the dancers to bring in chairs, benches, or the occasional tombstone without breaking the immersion. The pacing of the entire show, complete with an interval, is remarkably on-beat and flows without breaks or momentum. The entire affair is terrifically directed and marked out to ensure the enjoyment of the crowds, and streamlined to keep the performers energised.
And with bundles of the stuff, there’s nothing undead about the thrilling enthusiasm from the Addams dancers consisting of Chloe Law (who also turns in a magnificently malevolent ensemble role laughing and tormenting the audience), Emma Swain, Hannah Wilson, Isla Swain and Clodagh MacLeay. All of whom look super in Angie Caulfield’s monochromatic colours, ensuring a running theme for the Addams production which extends to the remainder of the ensemble: Freya Jardine, Honor Llewellin, Lily Welsh, Orla Harrison, Rosie Melvin and Sam Hunter.
It makes the pop of colour from the Beinekes, particularly the lurid yellows of Lucas’ mother Alice, played by Mhairi Finlay (alternating with Charlotte Dickson). It’s a terrific role when paired against Richardson’s cooler and more collected Morticia. Finlay is a credit to Erin Munro’s vocal coaching, standing out the moment their projection hits the higher notes with a delicacy, utilising their power not to blast away the crowds but to tell the story and expand the character.
And there’s plenty here to work with, especially with a husband like Mal, played by Joe Tulloch who plays the role with control and humour. As too does Joseph Coane, taking on one of the leading roles of Lucas, the boy Wednesday is besotted with, exuding enough energy to stand out against the Addams, but never robbing the spotlight. Though their duet of Crazier Than You with Masson comes close to the highlight of the show.
Someone needs to check in with Mariella Weir, who manages to characterise the cackling and maniacal Grandma Addams with just a touch too much expertise. They’re a brilliant addition comedically and without question devouring their time with the team in a role she shares with Isla Finlay). And rounding out the Addams Family (for now anyway…) is the delightful Corin Wake as Uncle Fester, a regular with the group, who makes the role of the mad scientist Fester his own, gleefully skipping around the stage and offering up a delightful vocal performance with the ensemble for The Moon and Me.
In the short years we’ve been attending the productions, the quality and range of the team are exceptionally impressive – from fan favourites to more tricky and complex musical juggernauts. The Addams Family is no different: the right amount of kooky, with plenty of spooks and gags, there isn’t anyone involved with this production, on or off-stage, who shouldn’t be beaming with pride over this show.
Beaming With Pride The Addams Family ran at Broughton High School this Festival Fringe Suitable for ages 8+ Running time – two hours and fifteen minutes with one interval Photo Credit – Eric Whitelaw