I must admit that if it weren’t for Carrie Hope Fletcher I wouldn’t have ever heard the music from The Addams Family musical. So, when she was cast as Wednesday and even more interesting casting choices were announced I eventually bit the bullet and booked to see the show when it came to Cardiff as part of the UK tour which continues until the 4th of November 2017 before moving to Singapore until early December 2017. The Addams Family is centered on the three main themes of family, secrets, and marriage which are all discussed through the three main couples. The dialogue is so smoothly written ensuring that nothing is lost in the large cast and that each couple gets their time in the sun, or rather the moonlight. This is combined with the famous comedic aspect of the Addams Family which is truly at the forefront of this production as the dialogue is hilarious from start to finish.
I’ll start with the casting. This cast is full of both famous faces and talented performers and it was certainly interesting to see how the two come together and what the result is. I must admit that, at first, I was skeptical about the casting of Samantha Womack as Morticia Addams as I personally have never heard her sing due to knowing her from Eastenders. I have seen ‘celebrity’ castings go horribly wrong so I’ve got to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by her voice! She is far more than capable of holding her own in her solo songs, especially in ‘Secrets’, so I hope to perhaps put some people’s minds at rest.
Carrie Hope Fletcher never fails to disappoint and her ability to belt, which is truly utilized to its fullest in the first act of this show, is astounding. I think that this casting was a very well thought through decision based on her voice and her general ability to completely sit in the middle of Wednesday’s kooky character. Fletcher’s former Les Miserables on-stage father and cast mate is reunited with her as Cameron Blakely takes on Gomez Addams. In my opinion, this show proved to be Blakely’s opportunity to quell any opinions that those who play Thenardier in Les Miserables can only comically act rather than perform stunning vocals at the same time. Blakely, similarly to Womack, really blew me away with his vocal abilities. However, while the majority of the dialogue was very well written with intriguing and intelligent comedy which I loved, I have to admit that I wished that the writers took into account that Blakely would have to combine speaking very quickly with Gomez’s thick accent. The two of these combined did cause me to miss some of the details in little bits of Gomez’s dialogue but I think that Blakely handled this very well and ensured that his emotion came through perfectly regardless.
I have to give a special mention to Dickon Gough as Lurch. I never expected to simply love Lurch as much as I do! But I feel that this is truly down to Gough’s amazing acting ability and comedic timing. Lurch is an incredibly funny character but his type of comedy is one which can easily step over the line of overdone and too slow that it disrupts the pace of the show, however, in Gough’s capable hands Lurch is an intriguing and incredibly funny character as everything is timed to perfection, especially when he comes down the stairs. This is also an important tip; make sure that you stay until the very end of the curtain call as you may see Lurch’s special feature.
I was very impressed by the level of detail retaining to the cast of this show. Each principal had a specific role within the story so no one felt left out or unneeded. For example, Pugsley Addams (Grant McIntyre) and Alice Bineke (Charlotte Page) got quite a bit more development than I initially expected that they would. Also, I was intrigued by the choices made for Uncle Fester, whose brilliant voice was provided by Les Dennis, as he became an interesting narrator interacting both with the audience and ensemble and mediating the two. I actually really liked this choice, especially as, unlike so many shows, this provided a solid story reason for the ensemble to be in the house and sing with the main principle members of the cast. However, I must admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Uncle Fester’s song ‘The Moon and Me’ as I felt that it slowed the pace and felt a little too much like filler in terms of story.
One thing which really stood out to me about this production was just how amazing the instrumental versions of the songs are. This is especially true of the main Addams Family theme and ‘When You’re An Addams’ which is heard during ‘Tango De Amor’ and both are heard during the overture. I think that their eight piece orchestra really performed beyond their numbers and did these orchestrations justice. This is also an aspect of one of my more nerdy theatre interests. The orchestra and cast created a wonderful curtain call. It always disappoints me when shows don’t incorporate full curtain calls but the Addams Family really took hold of theirs in order to just hammer home all of the positive points of this production.
The sets and costumes were truly the gorgeous icing on the cake that is this production. They were all intricately thought through and the set functioned brilliantly with the main narrative as, for example, it provided not only the staircase of the Addams home but also the door to the crypt/home of the Addams family ancestors.
I cannot thank Carrie Hope Fletcher enough for introducing me to the music of The Addams Family and my main thought after this production is how badly I wished that there was a cast recording of this specific cast as that would truly make my day. There is so much that I could talk about regarding this production but I’ve managed to fit most of it in here. If you get a chance to catch this wonderfully funny, creepy and kooky production I would highly recommend it! You’ll be clicking along in no time.
You can buy tickets for the tour from the Addams Family website.
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