|Date||12th March 2022|
|Society||Blyth Music and Theatre Company Ltd|
|Venue||Phoenix Theatre Blyth|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||John Hudson|
|Choreographer||Jackie Grey/Hayleigh Rose|
Author: Ken Allan
2022 marks a very special birthday for Blyth Music and Theatre Company; it is their 100th, and even though they, like many others had to pause for World War 2, they have provided the Town with excellent entertainment throughout this period. During that time they have found their home in a variety of venues – The Blyth Theatre Royal, The Wallaw Cine-Theatre and now The Phoenix Theatre have all served them extremely well. We heartily congratulate them on this splendid achievement.
The Addams Family is a fiendish feast of fun set in one of the great all-Amercan dysfunctional households. The characters of which are familiar to us after first, their 60s hit TV series, the film franchise and now with a superb stage show of over two and a half hours.
The spooky cooky clan, first created by cartoonist Charles Addams, are brought to life by Jersey Boys writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The wide-ranging and extremely apt songs by Andrew Lippa fit the piece well. There is plenty of deliciously dark humour - but, surprisingly, there's a lot of romance in this morality tale of love, loyalty and friendship.
At times the sentimentality does - oddly enough - overshadow the humour, but when they decide to go for it - they do.
The hugely talented Liam Grahame-Olsen as dapperly-dressed dad Gomez is in his element - a slick, wise-cracking performance which endeared himself to his audience, and reminded me of Groucho Marx at his best.
Equally gifted Tamara Wilson as Morticia glided around the stage as if she was on castors with elegance, poise and attitude in droves. This, coupled with a superb richly timbred singing and speaking voice, made her performance a tour-de-force.
Daughter Wednesday Addams – beautifully sung and played by Ashleigh McMaster - has fallen for a boy called Lucas Beineke – genuinely portrayed by Jon-George Hudson - and the action takes place around a 'meet the parents' dinner scenario leading to all manner of visual gags, the ‘Game’, and some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.
John Paul Hofilena had his head shaved especially to play the part of Uncle Fester (raising several hundreds of pounds for the Ukranian War relief Red Cross Charity) and this added to his fine comedic characterisation. He has a lovely voice as shown in the whimsical ‘The Moon and Me’ in which he serenades the love of his life.
The other supporting actors were top-notch too: Kieren Simm in his fine debut as Pugsley Addams, Rachel Grundy as Alice and Stuart Stocks as Mal Bieneke – Lucas’s straight-laced parents, aided and abetted by Pete Bayly as a strangely intimidating Lurch, and who could forget Judith Leese’s superb portrayal of Grandma Addams?!.
The Ancestors were tremendous, and their costumes and make up was fantastic. They were largely responsible for this group winning best show for Jesus Christ Superstar at our last awards evening, and this performance also ranked well with their focus, energy and individual characterisations… well done. There were no weak links.
Congratulations to Jackie Grey for her excellent stage direction and choreography; assisted by Hayleigh Rose, and also to MD John Hudson and his tremendous ten-piece orchestra (situated in a separate room in the Theatre), for their gutsy and occasionally equally emotional musical interpretation of the tricky score.
The lighting and special effects made a superb contribution to the success of the production, as did the sound and sound effects (albeit, in my estimation, at times a little loud as the accompaniment).
This is a time for us all trying to seek alternative escapism from what is going on in our World at this moment. Thanks to Blyth MTC and the Addams Family, we were able to do that this evening. It was also a pleasure to be able to support the equal funding promised by our hosts for the Red Cross Appeal. We thank them and wish them well.
Once again thanks for the invitation and hospitality. National President Gordon, Councillor Peter, me and my companion Pauleen enjoyed a wonderful night’s entertainment.