Review by Peter McGarry

Peter McGarry is an experienced, independent professional theatre critic who has agreed to review Talisman Theatre productions.
Peter is free to express his opinions for good or ill. The Talisman Theatre has no control whatsoever over the content of these reviews and will not comment publicly on what he writes.

The Addams Family Musical (2014):
So what do we really understand by dysfunctional family? Constantly at odds with each other, eternally bickering, fiercely arguing over who gets to control the remote?

In which case, the Addams lot are about as functional as you could get. Happily united in their appreciation of nasties rather than niceties. It's the outside world folk who cause the problems.

Herein lies the satire of this delightful show which was very smartly scooped by the Talisman for early UK performance. And measuring up to the weight of such responsibility, the company delivers a splendidly colourful and entertaining production.

Visually, it's a feast from curtain-up with a range of set designs by Ian Roberts and Wendy Morris which immediately transport us into a delicious, dark-edged world of arcane and highly anti-social antics. It's a world in which mother Morticia bemoans the fact that she has never been able to explore the sewers of Paris, young son Pugsley relishes every opportunity to be tortured by his sister Wednesday, and Uncle Fester cherishes an unbridled lust to make love to the moon.

Under the spirited direction of Stephen Duckham and Wendy McClay, the actors hurl themselves into this madcap fray with an enthusiasm which is positively infectious. Alistair Jolliffe makes Gomez a richly expansive father figure forever trying to please all corners of his demanding family and Charlotte McClay is a delight as cool modern teenager Wednesday who destroys family equilibrium by falling for a boy from 'outside'. Her questionable singing ability is more than compensated by her comedy flair.

Morticia, in the scene-stealing hands of Amanda Dodd, is wickedly alluring and funny, and it's impossible to resist the sheer kitsch of Uncle Fester's folksy moon serenade, beautifully performed by Trevor McClay.

The joyful moments come thick and fast. Julie-Ann Randell and Rod Wilkinson as the unfortunate dinner guests maximise their comedy moments, with a marvellous rendition of her baptism into a gross family tradition.

Add to all these an energetic team of ghostly ancestors who form an ongoing chorus and you have a stage filled with glorious colour and eccentricity.

It's a triumph for local theatre.



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