Review – The Addams Family

The Addams Family – by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice – Music & Lyrics Andrew Lippa – IODS Theatre Company – New Wolsey Theatre till Saturday 29th

Based on the TV series of the 1960’s – which itself was based on the much earlier original 1930’s cartoons of eccentric New Yorker Charles Addams – in anybody’s estimation this is a challenging musical to do well on stage – but IODS pull it off with remarkable skill and aplomb – due to a superb cast, a very talented set of Chorus and Dancers,  and deft handling from Directors Sally Broatch and Martin Leigh.

On a very atmospheric but workable set, impressively designed by Duncan Broatch,  with the band cleverly part- concealed behind cemetery gates, the story follows the consternation of the whole Addams family when young teenager Wednesday falls in love with a ‘normal’ American boy. What can they do to put her off him while trying to maintain a sense of family togetherness and not scaring the boy’s parents too much? How can they support her while trying to maintain their sense of weirdness? And how does Gomez tell his wife that their little girl is all grown up and plans to get married to someone who is as innocent and wholesome as apple pie ?

Will Wednesday come to her senses before Gomez has to confess her secret to his wife Morticia? Who will torture younger brother Pugsley if she elopes? Will Uncle Fester ever consummate his love for the Moon, and what is Grandma brewing in the attic?

Owen Berry is superb as head of the family Gomez Addams – commanding the stage, driving the production along , and embodying the character perfectly. Charlotte Curtis is equally good as wife Morticia – just the right side of disturbing and with ‘the walk’ spot on. Their chemistry on stage was the lynchpin of the whole production, and their dance scene at the end was a joy to watch. In fact all the choreography by Luke Berry was excellent, using the Chorus and Dancers to their full potential without making it all look strained.

Hannah Gingell is suitably serious as Wednesday and Samuel Brown suitably ‘wet’ as all-American boyfriend Lucus. Oliver Jenkins & Shay Sharp-Ling share the part of Pugsley – but whoever it was on opening night was spot on – and really owned his solo song.

Amongst the rest of the Principles there was no weak link,  but the other stand out actor to be mentioned was Tom Mayhew playing Uncle Fester – a dream of a part that he made the most of and was a pleasure to watch every time he came on stage.

This was a well drilled Company that didn’t put a foot wrong – with complicated but well executed chorus and dance scenes that filled the stage and kept the production pacy and interesting. With lots of slick scene changes and some great musical numbers tightly directed by Mike Wren and Emma Haggar – accompanied by a very professional band – this production was a delight from start to finish.  And the costumes ( Lindsey Gomez, Bridget Jackaman, Karen Wilding & Pamela White) were amazing!

Quirky, humorous and with lots to say about tolerance and ‘normality’, this is a very entertaining evening from an IODS Company at the top of their game, and I would urge you to try and get a ticket. You won’t be disappointed.

Suzanne Hawkes

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