The Addams Family

Date 30th March 2022
Society CODY Musical Theatre Company
Venue Prince’s Hall, Aldershot
Type of Production Musical
Director Alice Ryland and Dale Barrell
Musical Director Paul Tickner
Choreographer April Timpson

Report

Author: Jane Turner

The play opened in the Addams Family Graveyard with a motley crew of ghostly ancestors emerging from their graves for the annual family reunion, welcomed by Gomez and Morticia, heads of the family.  Rob Tickner as Gomez behaved relatively normally compared to the rest of the family and maintained a very realistic Spanish accent throughout, alternating between head of house, downtrodden and frustrated husband and loving father.  His energy was admirable.  Ruth Platt, Morticia, was magnificent, superior and sinister, with great stage presence.

All the other main characters were perfectly cast, each one projecting their individual personalities into their roles.  It’s impossible to single out any of them although I enjoyed Martin Sampson as the mute Lurch who lumbered aimlessly around the stage until he surprised us all by bursting into song at the end!  The high quality of the singing, both by the principals and the large ensemble, was enviable in an amateur group.

There were two particularly clever little touches from the original TV series.  Those who are not familiar with the shows won’t have known the significance.  The hand which sometimes appeared drawing the curtains was referred to in the shows as Thing, a fictional character apparently too horrible to see in person so the only visible part of it was its human hand.  And the brief appearance in the walk down at the end of Cousin Itt, all straw and hat and sun glasses - a regular character in the films, TV series and stage adaptations.  Ingenious!

Every inch of the vast stage was used.  The constantly changing set moved flawlessly from one scene to the next, with good use of curtains and drapes.  A lot of scenes were quite complicated and necessitated large pieces of scenery and furniture – cemetery railings, banquet table – but they came and went effortlessly.  Congratulations to the stage crew.

The lighting was superb throughout, highlighting different parts of the stage to follow the action.  The banquet scene was particularly effective.  Costumes were perfect and couldn’t be faulted.  The principals were a good mix of the traditional and the modern, while the motley group of ancestors were decked out in a huge variety of amusing and ghostly outfits.  Well done Nicky Stephens and her team.  April Timpson’s choreography did not let us down and her usual skill and professional experience were very evident.  Marshalling a large group of ghosts into a polished ensemble can’t have been easy!  The tango scene was especially slick – I could have watched it for longer!

Paul Tickner’s musical direction, of both the cast and his band of very talented musicians, was faultless.  The volume was just right and every word, spoken and sung, was clearly audible.

Like all amateur theatre groups over the last couple of years, CODY has struggled to put on productions and fill seats but they never gave up and this was another terrific show.  Despite battling with last-minute COVID absences among the cast and crew, they overcame all the problems without the audience even realising.  Congratulations to Directors Alice Ryland and Dale Barrell, and the whole production team, for providing another superb success.