Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Addams Family Musical

The Addams Family Musical.  Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.  Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa.  Based on characters created by Charles Addams.

The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, March 3 – 19, 2017-03-05.

Director: Stephen Pike; Musical Director – Matthew Webster; Choreographer – Annette Sharpe; Set Designer – Brian Sudding; Lighting Designer – Hamish McConchie; Sound Designer – Jesse Sewell; Costume Designers – Christine Pawlicki and Barbara Denham; Make-up Designer – Emily Geyer.

Gordon Nicholson – Gomez Addams; Lainie Hart – Morticia Addams; Rachel Thornton – Wednesday Addams; Callum Doherty – Pugsley Addams; Barbara Denham – Grandma Addams; Tim Stiles – Uncle Fester; Nathan Rutups – Lurch; Liam Downing – Lucas Beineke; Joseph McGrail-Bateup – Mal Beineke; Deanna Gibbs – Alice Beineke.

Ancestors:  Lachy Agett – Conquistador; Tristan Davies – American Indian; Andrew Howes – Egyptian; Sophie Hopkins – Queen Elizabeth; Liam Jackson – Ships Captain; Miriam Miley-Read – Suffragette (Morticia understudy); Casey Minns – Bride; Caitlin Schilg – Flapper; Madelyn White – Flight Attendant.

Pit Singers: Conor Beaumont; Fiona Hale; Michelle Klempke; Maureen Read (Grandma Addams understudy); Lydia Milosavijevic; Karen Noble; Janny Tabur.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
March 3

Though there are pedants who complain that the Addams Family Musical has less dark satirical bite than the television series (and even less than the original New Yorker cartoons), I can’t deny the enjoyment and sense of country town Queanbeyan camaraderie of this opening night. 

In fact, though the characters sing about the darkness, I thought there was an extra twist to the satirical pen in making a reversed-role romantic comedy musical which follows all the traditional rules, with everyone in love at the end – even including Uncle Fester, rocketing his way to meet up with the Moon.

Indeed, his falling-in-love scene was a positive tear-jerker, though I was a bit worried for the future of normal Lucas marrying Wednesday, who at 16 has turned out just like her mother Morticia.  And it was sad to think of young Pugsley having to face the real normal world without an elder sister to torture him for relief on a regular basis.

Of course it was an eyeopener to see how dark the normal relationship was between Mr and Mrs Beineke, when Alice is accidentally given Grandma’s full disclosure potion.  I’m dying to love you is the perverse theme of this romance, and Deanna Gibbs made the experience her own.

Lainie Hart plays Morticia like a pro, but I think it was Gordon Nicholson’s Gomez which was the kingpin performance, more than ably supported by everybody else, including the band in the pit whose music sounded like a great spoof of Sondheim’s discordant rhythms and tonal leaps in Into the Woods by being so much more harmonious.

The choreography, costumes and make-up – in fact, all the design work – was terrific: there’s too much to praise in this production, so I’ll end on Nathan Rutup’s amazing (and absolutely surprising) bass voice, when Lurch finally sings.  It was a laugh, but demanded respect for the art.

And that’s my conclusion on The Q’s Addams Family Musical.

PS  How amazing is it to realise that the creator of these characters was Mr Addams himself.  I just wonder, was Charles Addams normal, or was his family really like this?