The Addams Family
26th October 2018
The Izzard Theatre, Bexhill
Type of Production
Judy Ann Gilham
Author: Anne Lawson
A first time of seeing an appropriately timed spooky cartoon based, relatively new musical, with absolutely no knowledge of either the storyline or the music. What an exhilarating experience! Amazing characters created from a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Under the imaginative direction of Henri Hayler, choreography created by Sophia Lefevre and musical direction under Judy Ann Gilham, her nine-piece band tucked out of sight, using a screen, the team produced a spectacular interpretation. The well designed colourful A4 programme, with a good mix of interesting detail including a NODA mention, together with excellent publicity running up to the performances, was achieved by the team.
A macabre setting with dry ice effects reveals the family visiting the graveyard for their annual gathering of the Ancestors – living, dead and undecided! Tall elegant Abigaile Doherty’s adept singing - notably ‘Just Around the Corner’ - and natural dancing performance, is the aloof mother Morticia. Father, Gomez – Liam Rowley maintaining his Latin accent, hardly off stage, played his part with much energy and this his first singing, acting and dancing role!
Daughter Wednesday’s fallen in love with a ‘normal’, Lucas Beineke, and they are secretly engaged. It’s decided he and his parents should be invited to dinner. Little brother Pugsley, cheekily and most confidently played by Maya Godlonton-White, is upset that his sister will leave and there will be no more tortures for him! He steals a potion from a great character geriatric Grandma, played so well by Anne Hutchings returning to the stage after quite a break. There’s Uncle Fester, comically but poignantly portrayed by Kitson Wellard, the narrator with a twinkle - who falls in love with Moon and eventually flies off with a rocket strapped to his back. Torpid Lurch, the family's grunting retainer, played so well by tall Chris Eyre, surprises us towards the end by singing! Talented Chris Packham as Lucas charmed us. Lucas’s parents Mal and Alice are splendidly characterised by Will Spears and Jo Flay, who nervously arrive for drinks and dinner and play ‘The full disclosure Game’ when everyone will tell a secret! Alice reveals to Morticia her marriage is passionless, Gomez and Morticia explain they tango every night. Total confusion reigns, Alice mistakenly drinks the truth potion. Wednesday declares she is marrying Lucas – he agrees, the Ancestors create a sudden storm forcing the Beinekes to stay the night. After further incredible action like Lucas letting Wednesday blindfolded shoot an apple with her crossbow off his head, there’s a monster under Pugsley’s rack bed, Morticia is upset about being lied to, threatening to leave, Uncle Fester plays his uke and sings a passionate song to the mesmerising full Moon, Gomez promises to take his wife to Paris.... Of course, everything comes right in the end and true love triumphs.
Catchy musical numbers came thick and fast, with plenty of comedy and emotion too – one in particular from Liam Rowley with ‘Happy Sad’ singing with his growing-up daughter Wednesday, who is a spikily determined young lady – a most polished performance coming from Robyn Nash showing her immense versatility. The dance routines were creative with samples of many genres, all very slick from both principals, ensemble and the little ones too.
An open stage revealed the enshrouded tomb within the graveyard – stone, iron railings, coffins, skeletons and atmospheric fog effects. Projections of various locations with suitably creepy additions, were beautifully presented by Callum Pelling together with great sound effects, with William Brann creating the mood lighting. The balance from the unseen orchestra was just right. Stage crew worked efficiently throughout with the banquet dinner setting particularly well executed. Props of quality were provided by the backstage crew which included a working lever and chains, huge cigars, candles, spiders, hooks, swords, a walking bear and more!
Describing the costumes, make-up and hair styling is quite difficult. Spooky! Black with red trim theme running through stunning, contrasting with the floating whites/silvers of the ancestors, terrific.