Peter McGarry is an experienced,
independent professional theatre critic who has agreed to
review Talisman Theatre productions.
Addams Family Musical
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.
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
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.