Monday, April 1, 2013

THE ADDAMS FAMILY


Chloe Dallimore (Morticia) & John Waters (Gomez)
dance the "tango de Amour"
Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Directed by: Jerry Zaks

Musical Direction: Luke Hunter

Capitol Theatre, Sydney from 23rd March 2013

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

 
 
Based on the familiar Charles Adams drawings “The Adams Family” tells the fairly predictable story of what happens when Wednesday Addams (Teagan Wouters), the daughter of an unconventional family, who has had an unconventional upbringing, but has fallen in love with a nice young man, Lucas Beineke (Tim Madden) from an ultra-conservative family and background (although not quite as conservative, in the case of his mother, as we were first lead to believe). 
The Addams Family and ancestors 
 
Wednesday’s family is the macabre, Addams Family, who live in a huge Gothic mansion, and include her father, Gomez (John Waters), her mother, Morticia (Chloe Dallimore), her brother Pugsley, whom she regularly tortures, (Liam Faulkner-Dimond at the performance reviewed), and her extended family of  Grand-ma (Meredith O’Rielly), Uncle Fester (Russell Dykstra) and a half-dead butler, Lurch (Ben Hudson). The Addams family are also surrounded by a collection of long-dead relatives who provide spectacular support in a series of cleverly-staged production numbers for which Sergio Trujillo has devised some appropriately quirky choreography.
When Wednesday invites Lucas Beineke’s family to the mansion to meet the rest of The Addams Family a series of events occur which provide the momentum for this surprisingly engaging musical.
Guided by legendary Broadway director, Jerry Zaks, who also directed the Broadway and National tour productions of “The Addams Family”, this beautifully detailed production moves at a leisurely pace, making sure the audience has sufficient time to savour each laugh line and inventive piece of stage business. There are visual surprises aplenty, and even the lavish red velvet curtains develop a life of their own.
The Adams Family
Meredith O'Rielly (Granma)Ben Hudson (Lurch) Teagan Wouters (Wednesday) Russell Dykstra (Uncle Fester)
Liam Faulkner-Dimond (Pugsley) Chloe Dallimore (Morticia) John Waters (Gomez)
 
John Waters is charming and funny as Gomez, as is Russell Dykstra as the fey, rather surreal Uncle Fester whose love affair with the moon yields some surprising results. Meredith O’Rielly as Grandma, and Ben Hudson as Lurch get their fair share of laughs, and Teagan Wouters  is a breath of fresh air as Wednesday. Tim Madden as her boyfriend, Lucas Beineke, is engaging but has yet to find the key to make his character memorable. Tony Harvey does as much as he can with the rather stock of the anal father Mal Bieneke.
Katrina Retallick gives a stand-out performance as his wife, Alice Beineke, pulling out all the stops to hilarious effect in her number “Waiting”.
However it is Chloe Dallimore, as Morticia Addams, who steals the show. Tall, elegant and drop-dead gorgeous in her black wig and long gowns, she moves with a ballerina’s grace and dominates the stage whenever she is on. Towards the end of the show she tucks up her gown to reveal ridiculously long million-dollar legs to dance the “Tango de Amour” with Gomez, and the effect is stage magic.  
With its seriously funny scenes and special effects, which delighted the many children in the audience, “The Addams Family” is a musical to savour. More likely to charm than excite, with songs that are catchy rather than memorable and characters who are loveable, but perhaps not as ‘out-there’ as one might expect, it's a musical which still offers a surprisingly elegant, gothic and funny comment of the value of family. 

Russell Dykstra as Uncle Fester and Ensemble

Photos by Jeff Busby

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