Image by Matt Martin
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
The Lowry, Salford Quays
Until Saturday 9th September, 2017
It is almost 80 years since Charles Addams’ now iconic creations first appeared in nameless panel cartoon form in The New Yorker magazine, though numerous television, film and even video game adaptations later, The Addams Family are back with the long-awaited UK premiere of Andrew Lippa’s 2010 musical comedy of the same name; creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, it’s like they’ve never been away!
Having first opened on Broadway in April 2010, The Addams Family proved to be a big commercial success if not a critical one, grossing over $60 million and running for 722 performances, despite an array of negative reviews.
Though many of the issues flagged up in the original production have since been revised and ironed out, this latest incarnation of the show is again not without flaws, and despite some outstanding performances and superb production design, The Addams Family suffers from an often unmemorable score and a rather generic ‘contrasting families’ plot line that feels all too familiar.
With a book by Academy Award-winner, Marshall Brickman (Annie Hall) and Tony Award nominee, Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), this original Addams Family tale centres on the blossoming romance between the now grown up princess of darkness, Wednesday Addams (though still wielding her trusty crossbow), and college boy, Lucas Beineke, the only child of a respectable and well to do Ohio family. Chaos then ensues when Gomez and Morticia are forced to entertain the Beineke family for drinks and dinner (with a twist), all the while accompanied by the ragtag band of Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley, Grandma and an ensemble of ghostly ancestors, all prone to throwing an occasional spanner (or three) in the works.
Brickman and Elice’s book entertains for the most part, though it feels a little too reliant on physical comedy and the skills of the cast, often lacking in the sharp, biting comedy it promises early in the show.
Cameron Blakely turns in an outstanding performance as Addams patriarch, Gomez, dazzling with a rich baritone and knock out comic timing, though he is matched by an excellent Samantha Womack at her alluring best as morbid, deadpan matriarch, Morticia.
The ever-reliable Carrie Hope Fletcher excels as Wednesday – in a very different role from her previous work – with the superb operatic bass, Dickon Gough, proving a hilarious stand-out in the supporting cast as the Addams’ towering manservant, Lurch.
Despite issues with sound levels and vocal dropouts, Matthew White’s production is slick and cleverly staged. Set designs, costumes and lighting are a real highlight, though a few more illusions and special effects would not go amiss.
Running Time: 2 hours and 35-minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.
Final Performance at The Lowry: Saturday 9th September, 2017
For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.