A goodly percentage of the enthusiastic and highly responsive opening night audience joined in spontaneously with the iconic Addams Family “finger-click” theme, incorporated into the show’s overture, which says a lot for the warm general familiarity towards the unconventional Addams clan, and our first sighting of them at the opening of this delightful musical does not disappoint. Major kudos from the outset to the make-up and costume design, which add so much to the show throughout. Jon Chalkley’s splendidly energetic and detailed direction, alongside Sarah Earnshaw’s inventive and character-driven choreography, make this a two-and-a-half hour treat, and Gem Tunley’s crisp musical direction (and first-class orchestra) match and enhance the cracking pace of the show.
This musicalisation of The Addams Family is very much a show FOR the family, with laughs aplenty, witty musical numbers, and some decent human feeling in amongst the outrageous (if harmless) plot developments. The youngsters fall in love, the parents are in a quandary, the families are as opposite as ever you’re likely to find. These are real issues, of course, but remembering that this is very much a musical comedy, they are dealt with accordingly, and the result is a wholesome family show whose message is delivered ingeniously, if frequently ghoulishly – let’s not forget what this particular family stands for!
This is a show that requires – demands – strong character performances, and SMS has assembled a hugely impressive line-up. The ‘Ancestors’, as eclectic a bunch as you’re ever likely to find, are also the show’s chorus, and they are a constant delight, each and every one a distinctively drawn character, enhancing every scene and number in which they appear. They are very much in evidence when first we meet the Beineke Family, who have come to the Addams’ house in Central Park at the insistence of Wednesday Addams, besotted as she is with young Lucas Beineke, who is equally besotted with her.
Lauren Wilson is an absolute little star as Wednesday, giving a firecracking performance with equally firecracking vocals; and Jim Smith brings tremendous sweet charm, along with a skilled comic touch, as Lucas. As his parents, Mal and Alice, Dave Brown and Bethany Churcher are great fun. Alice Beineke, at least in the first act, is arguably the most bonkers character onstage (a fact briefly alluded to by Daniel Ferrett’s Gomez – but more of him in a moment), with an hilarious moment of musical glory during the act one finale; and Dave Brown’s Mal has an equally enjoyable moment of glory in act two, when this somewhat detached pair rekindle their old spark.
Back in the Addams household, there’s also delightful work from Logan Robinson as Pugsley (hilarious in his first major scene, and surprisingly touching later in the show), Adrian Jones (getting huge laughs as the mute Lurch), Danielle Fletcher (a hoot as Gramma) and Dave Smith as a really rather sweet Uncle Fester.
Leading the cast are Daniel Ferrett and Katy Watt as Gomez and Morticia, and they’re both scrumptious! Daniel is in absolute control of the whole shebang, and clearly alert to everything – on opening night, he followed a slightly fluffed line with a cracking ad-lib, appropriate and in character, and got a huge and deserved laugh as a result. It’s not just his comedy you’ll come away remembering here – he also has the show’s most touching moment, the song ’Happy / Sad’, which on opening night he performed beautifully. And then there’s Katy Watt as Morticia, the undulating sex-bomb who Gomez literally can’t keep his hands off! She, too, has great comic flair, terrific vocals, and in the climactic ‘Tango De Amor’ (and I hope she will forgive me for saying this) displays a pair of legs that deserve their own programme credit! Individually and together, Daniel and Katy are terrific.
The show runs at The Point until Saturday, and it deserves to be seen. It should have happened two years ago, until brought to a sudden halt (as was all theatre, and so much else, for reasons we hardly need mention here). But it’s back, it’s here, and it’s a treat to have this terrific company back with a bang. Welcome back, SMS. We’ve missed you.
P.S. There’s even an excellent merch stand in the foyer, and yes, I bought a fridge magnet and a Morticia key ring… and in keeping with the tone of the show, I’m seriously thinking I’d like the song ‘Just Around The Corner’ played at my funeral!!