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The Addams Family Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

The great thing about shows like The Addams Family – the musical comedy by Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and Andrew Lippa, is that they encourage people who have perhaps never stepped inside a theatre before to book tickets and if they enjoy the experience, encourage them to try another show, and another, as was the case with the group next to me last night at ATG’s New Wimbledon Theatre, and, I suspect, many others, all of whom, including family parties, were clearly totally involved in the experience.

The cast of THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Credit Pamela Raith.
The cast of THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Credit Pamela Raith.

The show is based on Charles Addams’ – yes he was a real person – single-panel gag cartoons about a ghoulish family. Many film and television adaptations have been made but this 2009 musical is the first to put the family on stage. It ran for a year on Broadway and since then has been seen all over the world, including Russia. This particular staging was first seen in 2017 when it toured the UK, coming to a premature halt because of Covid!

The story, such as it is, concerns the proposed marriage of Wednesday, the daughter of Gomez and Morticia, to Lucas, son of Mal and Alice Beineke, a “normal” family!

The production is lucky to have the services of Cameron Blakely, who first played the role of Gomez in the 2017 tour. He makes it look so easy, when in fact he is working very hard, as the script, at times, is not as funny as perhaps it should be. He has a relaxed baritone and puts over his songs with glee, for example “Happy Sad” and “Not Today” in Act Two. Strangely all the most memorable songs occur after the interval.

His wife, Morticia, played with a true sense of style by Joanne Clifton looks as if she has stepped straight out of an episode of “The Munsters” and also sings her musical numbers with relish, an example being ‘Just Around the Corner’ also from Act Two.

Others in the Addams family who particularly impress are a gruesome-looking Scott Paige as Uncle Fester – it must take ages to install his make-up! – who possesses a fine singing voice as exemplified in his song ‘ The Moon and Me’; Dickon Gough as Lurch, who reveals a fine bass at the end of the show and Valda Aviks as hideous Grandma, all of whom clearly enjoy the much larger than life style that director Matthew White has them playing in.

Ahmed Hamad impresses as the son of the “other” family, full of charm and charisma and Kara Lane gives a very amusing over the top portrayal of his mother, Alice.

The ghoulish choreography is by Alistair David, the final tango being particularly impressive and evocative lighting by Ben Cracknell. Sound design was by Richard Brooker, much of the singing seeming overamplified and occasionally unpleasant in Act One, but this was tamed by the second half of this two and three quarter hour production.

Mention must be made of the witty set and costumes( Diego Pitarch), very spectacular for a touring production, and also of the orchestra under the direction of Bob Broad including superb viola and violin playing from Oliver Lewis as well as impressive saxophone solos from Eleanor Sandbrook.

The Addams Family – the musical comedy was obviously hugely appreciated by the audience at Wimbledon where it is playing until 19 February before continuing its UK tour to ATG and many other theatres. Well worth catching!

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Everyone’s favourite kooky family are coming back on stage in this spectacular musical comedy from the writers of multi-award-winning hit musical JERSEY BOYS, with music and lyrics by TONY AWARD nominated Andrew Lippa and starring Joanne Clifton (Strictly Come Dancing and The Rocky Horror Show) as Morticia.

Joanne will be joining the previously announced, Cameron Blakely (Gomez Addams), Scott Paige (Uncle Fester), Kingsley Morton (Wednesday Addams), Grant McIntyre (Pugsley Addams), Valda Aviks (Grandma), Sean Kingsley (Mal Beineke), Kara Lane (Alice Beineke), Ahmed Hamad (Lucas Beineke), Dickon Gough and Ryan Bennett (sharing the role of Lurch), Abigail Brodie, Sophie Hutchinson, Matthew Ives and Sean Lopeman. Also new to the cast and joining the ensemble is Castell Parker. Further casting to be announced.

15 – 19 February 2022
New Wimbledon Theatre

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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