Theatre Review: The Addams Family

CHMS are back with their adaptation of The Addams Family. We sent to see how weird and wonderful it truly was

Photo Credit: Katherine Johnston

The Addams Family: a musical adaptation of the popular television programme, inspired by the cartoons of Charles Addams. The characters are as macabre and humorous as the original series, yet there is a twist in the musical. Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love, much to her family’s horror. CHMS pull off a convincing interpretation of the performance, with a particular stand-out performance from Rosie Pudney as Alice Beineke.

The Addams are a satirical inversion of the ideal American family, wealthy aristocrats, who delight in torture and all things macabre, paired against stereotypical Ohians. This contrast was highlighted nicely by costume and makeup, bland creams and browns selected for the seemingly enthusiastic Beinekes. Creating and sourcing the costumes for these well-known characters was a challenge well-met by Hannah Froggett. Of note was Morticia’s elegant and tight-fitting black dress, swept up into attractive rouches for the tango, and Grandma Addams’ attire, reminiscent of both the Addams Family and a touch of various witching worlds! Only Gomez differed from the original costume, trading his white and black pinstripe for red and black. Perhaps, like Wednesday, he has moved on from the events of years passed!

The set was minimal but specifically selected to create the Gothic atmosphere needed. Innovative solutions, such as using fake floor panelling, allowed the cast to easily raise and lower concealed painted panels, and facilitated the transitions between indoor and outdoor scenes seamlessly. The lighting design was also often used to good effect, to highlight the character and focus of the scene; greens and blues most common to wash-over and wash-out the dead-like Addams Family characters. This was particularly effective upon the ancestors with their white clothing.

Grandma Addams (Emily Chattle) and Fester (Evie Jones) were a particularly entertaining pair, with excellent comedy timing. Jones’s character also acts as a narrator, guiding the audience through events with larger-than-life ease. A regular on the university stage, she treads the boards as this bumbling and loveable bald figure; the speedo cap disguising her hair is an entertaining solution, giving Fester a few head wrinkles! Fester’s brother, Gomez, the unwrinkled head of the family, was played convincingly by Joshua Gorroño Chapman. His presence as the centre male of the family was established quickly, and his frequent dilemmas suitably naturalistic. A particular highlight of the show was the Tango de Amor between Gomez and Morticia Addams (Caitlin Burrows). Chapman and Burrows lead the dance with energy and intent, mirrored with equal vitality from the ensemble of the dead relatives. Another notable number of the show, with unexpected honesty (but not full-disclosure!), is Pugsley’s solo, ‘What If…’, performed by Jacob Ashbridge. A touching confession of a brother mourning the loss of his sister as she leaves to marry is a moment of reality in the show which is particularly refreshing, heartfelt and emotive number. Albeit, he is going to miss her torturing him – not the usual sentiment of the sibling!

It was clear from the audience’s reaction that the show-stopping performance was by none other than Rosie Pudney. Her performance of ‘Waiting’, tells the story of the restricted and fraught female behind a white-picket-fence, breaking out to admit her dissatisfaction and unhappiness she hides with her stereotypical suburban smile. Ranging from happily carefree and “civilised”, to wild and crazy within a single act; she achieved this through both acting and singing skills, which have been honed to a highly professional level. The casting of Christian Loveless and Eliot Bayley as her husband and son, respectively, was well-made. There was convincing family chemistry between them, and good performances from both as they transitioned to become crazier than their partners.

A nicely created unit, CHMS’s show is on until Saturday at the John Cooper Studio @41Monkgate.

9/10

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