The Addams Family
26th June 2019
The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
Type of Production
Sally Broatch Assistant Director Martin Leigh
Mike Wren Assistant Musical Director Emma Haggar
Author: Catherine Dixey
This musical comedy was taken from the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. The first cartoon drawn by Charles Addams was in 1937 and since then there have been films and the television series about the Addams Family, but it wasn’t until 2010 when the musical first opened in Broadway, with its UK premiere tour in 2017.
The story revolves around The Addams Family, Gomez and his wife Morticia, their two children Pugsley and Wednesday, Uncle Fester, Grandma Addams, and not forgetting Lurch, the butler. Wednesday has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke. When this strange and macabre Addams family meet Lucas’ supposedly ‘normal’ Beineke family, his father Malcolm and mother Alice, things start to get interesting.
Owen Berry as Gomez and Charlotte Curtis as Morticia were brilliant throughout. Their movements and poses all adding wonderfully to their characters. They were complimented by the very capable cast around them, Wednesday (Hannah Gingell) and Lucas (Samuel Brown ) whose talents shine through were well matched lovers. Uncle Fester (Tom Mayhew) with his wonderful energy and comedy, the pot-smoking Grandma Addams (Angela Rankin); Alice (Stephanie Brown), Malcolm Beineke (Stephen Lawrence) and Lurch (Ryan Cope) who just grunts whenever spoken to, but surprises everyone at the end of the show with a wonderful bass voice. The younger Pugsley Addams, who loves to be tortured by his sister is played by Shay Sharp-Ling and Oliver Jenkins who share the role on alternating performances. This was not just about the main characters however, the whole cast, of dancers and ensemble all worked brilliantly together and interacted without pause.
The choreography is simply stunning, from Morticia’s kick line with the Grimm Reaper; Uncle Fester in “The Moon & Me” as he searches for the moon with the female ancestors dressed in white and with large feather fans symbolising the clouds. Also the brilliantly choreographed chaos, at the end of scene one, during which Alice (Stephanie Brown) who has been drugged, loses her inhibitions and shows her inner self, superb; and ending with a staged tableau. Must also mention the final Tango with Gomez, Morticia and the dancers.
Mike Wren has worked his magic again, assisted by Emma Haggar, with the numerous songs excellently performed by all the cast and orchestra; with the large 11 piece orchestra set at the back of the stage behind the gravestones.
The set design by Duncan Broatch was atmospheric and worked wonderfully well with lots of action going on, on its different levels. Your eyes constantly being drawn to the upper levels, including a dance on an upper balcony during one of the songs, and some of the ancestors moving around in their own framed pictures high on the walls above you. The set changes were slick and without blackouts kept the pace moving well. There was also a colour theme running through the whole show, with the Addams family all in black and their dead ancestors all in white. The costumes were perfect, complimented by the make-up. The ancestors, with their white faces, which must have got quite unbearable in the heat on stage this week. The lighting too, worked well to add to the atmosphere.
Sally Broatch and Martin Leigh have directed this production superbly and Sally has added loads of quirky ideas, including giving all the ancestors their own individual characters to make this show stand out from many others. The comedy was certainly appreciated by the first night audience and they were all rewarded with a standing ovation.
Well done IODS Theatre Company for another superb production. So from myself, Jacquie Stedman the NODA National President and both our husbands, thank you for inviting us, for your kind hospitality and it was a pleasure to meet lots of you to offer you our congratulations.