The Addams Family

Ringwood Musical & Dramatic Society  The Barn, Ringwood School, Ringwood Caroline Burr

10 April 2024

The Addams Family musical is an original story based on the characters created by Charles Addams, a cartoonist. It was first performed on Broadway in 2007.

The characters in this ghoulish family are probably quite familiar – Gomez, his wife Morticia, brother Uncle Fester, and the children Pugsley and Wednesday. Not forgetting the 102 year old Grandma and Lurch the servant. In this quirky, back to front family, sadness makes them happy, pain is joyful, and they fantasise about death and suffering.

Unfortunately, the plot is very thin, with the basic premise that Wednesday has grown up and fallen in love, but is afraid to tell her mother, who is concerned about her becoming happy and cheerful. Lucas, Wednesday’s boyfriend, comes from a normal family, so there is a lot of tension when they arrive at the Addams mansion for dinner. Not least because they are greeted by Lurch, whilst Pugsley, Uncle Fester and Grandma find it impossible not to be themselves.

Despite the rather weak material, which includes some of the songs, the cast and creatives did a fantastic job at entertaining the audience last night. The production was extremely well cast, with each actor looking like the character they played, and all being able to sing! David Kehoe as Gomez was particularly strong, he maintained the accent throughout and has good comic timing. Louise Daly as Morticia was both sexy and intimidating and was a great foil to her husband in their totally believable relationship. I really liked Richard McPherson as Uncle Fester, Christopher Lloyd eat your heart out! Richard made the character both insane and lovable.

Other standout performances were given by Tom Buxton as Lurch – who had next to nothing to say, but managed to steal every scene he was in, and Danielle Morris as Mrs Beineke. She has great stage presences, a fabulous voice, delivering both comedy and pathos to a professional standard. Wednesday, played by Stephanie Jones, managed to achieve the very dark side of her character’s personality, whilst also gaining our support in her quest for love.

In fact, there was not a weak link anywhere in the line up, as Taylor Button was funny and convincing as jealous brother Pugsley, bringing a lot of Dennis the Menace to the role. Grandma (Naomi Gibson) was well executed, despite the ageing up needed! Naomi has some fabulous lines which she delivered to great comic effect. The onstage duo of Alex Freed (Lucas Beineke) and his Tom Andrews as his father, Mal, looked spookily like they were actually related. Both actors managed to make their characters three dimensional.

This production was extremely well directed by Rich Bennett, not an easy task with so many scenes and so many actors. If there are any suggestions I would make, it is that the scene changes are accompanied by some music and that the mics are turned down a bit – it was very loud at times. Having said that, there was great attention to detail, eg the portrait of Gomez and the make-up for the cast. The costumes were superb, as was the set. I loved all the ancestors who sparkled, particularly during the well choreographed scenes.

Generally, the lighting and sound were good, whilst the band was superb and didn’t put a foot wrong all night – congratulations to MD Matt Timmins.

Overall, this was a very slick production where the company made the best of some weak material. The cast seemed to thoroughly enjoy the performance, as did we.

The run continues until Saturday.

(Editorial: runs until Saturday 13 April, 7:30 pm each evening with a 2:00 pm Saturday matinee)