Having featured prominently on TV and film since the 1960’s, The Addams Family was first adapted to the stage in 2010 and ran for over 700 performances, winning four Broadway.com Audience Awards. With a fresh take on the world famous wacky family, ‘Music and Lyrics Limited’ have brought The Addams Family to Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre as part of their UK-wide tour.
Written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and under the directorial guidance of Matthew White, this production tells a fresh story from the Addams’ and shows the characters in a slightly different light to what audiences may have seen previously.
The story follows a slightly older Wednesday Addams (Carrie Hope Fletcher) to what audiences may have seen before, as she falls in love with a boy named Lucas Beineke (Oliver Ormson). The plot is kick-started as Wednesday shares a secret with her father Gomez (Cameron Blakely) that she intends to marry Lucas and asks that he keeps it from his wife, Morticia (Samantha Womack). As Wednesday and Lucas attempt to build bridges between their families, the Beinekes are invited over for dinner and things take a turn for the worst, or so it appears.
The show does arguably have a loose storyline and the plot is somewhat drawn out, but similarly to previous film and television adaptations, the main focus of The Addams Family is the characters. Audiences have a love and fascination with these wacky, larger-than-life characters and we enjoy watching them in a fly-on-the-wall sort of format within the walls of their gothic mansion. The cast portray the wacky Addams’ perfectly and their characterisations accurately depict the notions of each character that fans have embedded in their minds from previous adaptations. Womack gives a sexy, charismatic performance as Morticia and Blakely’s rendition of the lovable Gomez is perfect and suits him to a tee.
Writer Andrew Lippa mentions in the program notes that the production aims to “remind people of their own families” and the show pulls this off expertly by using the Addams’ in relatable, everyday situations such as; Pugsley scared of losing his older sister, relationship troubles and accepting differences within others. We see a more human side to the Addams’ in this show.
The music and choreography are absolutely flawless. The vocals from the entire cast were superb and the addition of a live band really did make every song memorable and extremely enjoyable. Every single song added to the storyline and there wasn’t a single track that felt out of place, as is usually the case with musicals where at least one song feels unnecessary. The production also really benefited from scenes that were actually acted out rather than every word being sung – perhaps this is just a personal vexation.
Special mention must go to Fletcher for Wednesday’s songs “Pulled” and “One Normal Night”, which were particular highlights. Other memorable moments were Wednesday, Lucas, Mal (Dale Rapley) and Alice’s (Charlotte Page) performance of “Crazier Than You” and an exceptional dance sequence from Gomez and Morticia and the supporting ensemble that resembled Strictly’s Halloween week (the professional dancers, not Ed Balls…) Kudos to Alistair David (choreographer). The stage and costume design was also fabulous and really did give the performance a high quality visual appeal.
The comedy is a real highlight of the show – with perfectly delivered one-liners, some raunchy innuendos from Grandma (Valda Aviks) and understated slapstick comedy from Lurch (Dickon Gough). Uncle Fester’s (Les Dennis) sporadic transition from performance to narration was also a nice touch and added a few extra laughs.
In a hilarious and heart warming story that challenges the notion of normality and social conformity, The Addams Family celebrates the eccentric and as Morticia’s famous line goes, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is a calamity for the fly.”
This is certainly the best adaptation of The Addams Family to date and I haven’t enjoyed a theatre show as much as this for a long, long time.
The Addams Family runs at Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday, August 12th and tickets can be purchased by clicking here.