There have been many incarnations of The Addams Family ranging from a cartoon strip, to a 1960s cult family show, the 1990’s film versions right up to the most recent cartoon film series. But I have to say that as good as all those versions have been, The Addams family musical , currently showing at Birmingham’s The Alex Theatre, may just be the greatest of them all. It is creepy and kooky, and totally spooky, but it is also hilariously funny, full of heart, with incredible performances. It is an absolute marvel.
Wednesday Addams is now all grown up and in love…with a ‘normal’ boy, Lucas. She confides in her dad, Gomez, but begs him not to tell her mother, Morticia, for fear she will disapprove. This places Gomez in agony (usually something he would love) as he wants to help Wednesday, but never lies to Morticia (the song Two things illustrates his plight in perfect, hilarious fashion.) Lucas’s family the Beineke’s, are due to visit the Addams for dinner, and Uncle Fester is determined that love should triumph for the young couple, involving all the Addams ghostly ancestors in his plans, but young Fester is upset his sister may no longer torture him if she gets married, and steals a potion belonging to Grandma in order to show Wednesday’s ‘true nature’. Chaos ensures at dinner, during ‘the game’ and the magnificently bonkers ‘Full Disclosure’ scene, when the drink meant for Wednesday is drank by someone else…Will true love ever triumph?
The Addams Family is one of those rare shows where every single element is perfect. The cast is absolutely stand out, with Joanne Clifton born to play the slinky, glamorous Morticia. She is paired wonderfully with Cameron Blakely as Gomez, their chemistry is electric, and Blakely delivers a flashy, often hilarious performance (my fave line – ‘she’s not your mother’…watch and see). Kingsly Morton is superb as Wednesday, a real powerhouse voice and great comic timing, whilst he relationship with both Ahmed Hamad as Lucas, and her little brother Pugsley are full of heart and work so well. Grandma, as played by Valda Aviks, is a real hoot, whilst the Beineke’s, Sean Kingsley and Kara Lane, are just brilliant, totally playing their roles tongue in cheek. Lurch, the unspeaking butler gets so many laughs, played by the fabulous Dickon Gough, a real stand out with a feel for physical comedy. And then there is Uncle Fester, played gloriously by the wonderful Scott Paige. He is a show stopper, from his hilarious musical numbers – The Moon and Me anyone, to his asides to the audience. This is comic genius at its best.
The songs are brilliant, you sort of feel you’ve heard them before as they have elements of old school Hollywood musicals and ragtime in them. The opening sequence, ‘when you’re an Addams’ is a fantastic spectacle, with a brilliant team of dancers playing the Addams ancestors, whilst the already mentioned, totally batty ‘Full Disclosure’ is still in my head this morning. A slinky Argentine Tango , Tango De Amor, also brings the house down, with a stunning, Strictly-esque dance for Joanne and Cameron.
The set also has to be mentioned, lovers of the iconic Addams house, will not be disappointed by a set that takes you into so many rooms, all gloriously staged.
The Addams Family may not be a traditional family, but this creepy, kooky, altogether spooky lot sure know how to entertain. Simply fabulous – when can I go to dinner again?