Venue: Grand Opera House, York
What could be more appropriate as we approach Halloween than a showing of The Addams Family Musical? Such a treat is currently running at the York Grand Opera House for three days only in eight fantastic performances from the 28th-31st October, and there are certainly plenty of surprises in store.
The family friendly musical which has music composed by Andrew Lippa (a fellow Yorkshire-man originally from Leeds) and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, is based on ‘The Addams Family’ characters created by Charles Addams in his singe-panel gag cartoons. The show enjoyed an original run on Broadway and a subsequent tour, yet suffered from negative reviews criticizing its underdeveloped plot. Watching Pick Me Up’s version of the musical last night this is a perspective I find myself agreeing with; the story unfolds on a single night in the Addams Family Life and tells a soap-opera like tale of boy meets girl meets parents. On top of this (with the exception of the opening song ‘When You’re an Addams’ and the strikingly recognizable Addams Family Theme) the music is fairly generic and even now with the night fresh in my mind I cannot recall many of the tunes.
Despite these issues Pick Me Up theatre rose to the challenge of making something which could indeed be quite ‘depressing’ in itself and turned it into a ‘fun-loving’ (if that is the appropriate phrase), quirky spectacle that had the audience laughing, jumping and clapping to a high volume on the closing number. This performance is evidence that ultimately a good stage show comes very much down to the team of creatives behind it: be they directors, choreographers, performers or an incredibly inventive art department.
Arguably the ‘Addams Family’ characters have a stock look and the audience expect a fulfillment of their favorite ghoulish family to appear as they do in the cartoons; this was achieved to a scarily high accuracy, yet room was found for a more personal expression in the costumes of the ‘undead ancestors’ who roamed the stage throughout. These were an impressive mix of ages all dressed in differing elaborate white outfits (I don’t think I spotted two the same!). This was added to by the costumed extras seated in the boxes
Ultimately a good stage show comes very much down to the team of creatives behind it
either side of the stage prior to the start of the performance; an intuitive method by the company to set the tone and increase immersion in the world of the ‘Addams’ even before the curtains rose.
The actors performed animatedly and each character was bought to life with an individual flair and intrigue. All of them are to be heartedly congratulated on this achievement, however worth particular mention are ‘Adam Laird’ who portrayed an incredibly mesmerizing and sufficiently deadpan ‘Lurch’; a character often overlooked and lost in the eccentricities of the other family members but here depicted in a lovable light and often a core source of humor which came to a height in his well-deserved solo performance. However, the character who ultimately carried the show, abound with Spanish charisma, was Gomaz Adams played by ‘Darren Lumby’. His signature song ‘Trapped‘ (a ‘full disclosure’ of his women troubles) was greeted by many laughs from the audience. Even the extras each seemed to have a unique personality, from the flamboyant to the plain creepy (quite impressive when you are supposed to be dead).