Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Director: Matthew White
Reviewer: Maggie Constable
Spooky ghouls and strange, creepy types arrive in Milton Keynes this week in the form of The Addams Family, the musical version! Starring Samantha Womack, much-loved actor and fast becoming national treasure, the show has toured to acclaim from all who see it.
Wednesday Addams, the quintessential princess of the dark side, has grown into a teenager and has an awful secret that only the very strange Gomez knows; she has fallen head over proverbial heels in love with a nice, smart young guy from a most respectable family – Lucas! So Gomez Addams must do something which he has never attempted before – keep hold of said secret and not divulge it to Morticia Addams, his beloved wife. She will be more than a little cross if she learns the truth! This small matter will change all for the entire Addams family on the fateful evening when they host a special dinner for Wednesday’s (as they describe him) “normal” boyfriend and parents, the Beineke family. All the usual crew are at the table – Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley, Grandma and the rest (the dead included!)
Scott Paige, replacing the indisposed Les Dennis, brings us Uncle Fester and does not put a foot wrong. He has the weaselly hands and the creepy facial expressions down to a tee and he demonstrates a super voice in his special song: The Moon and Me
Sam Womack, as Morticia, is a very pleasant surprise. Although she occasionally drops the accent, she gives a very convincing performance for a role that is hard to play without overdoing the acting. A nice mix of humour and devilish manners. As we know from pantomime, she has a decent voice which harmonises well in her duet, Live Before We Die, with Gomez, portrayed by the inimitable Cameron Blakely. The latter displays charm, verve, energy and excellent comic timing as well as a good voice. He stands out in this show.
Carrie Hope Fletcher, in the challenging role of Wednesday Addams, shows herself to be more than up to the job and what a powerful and melodic voice she has, as exhibited in Pulled in Act 1. Her quirky mannerisms and facial expressions work perfectly. Oliver Ormson is Wednesday’s love interest, Lucas. A very sound performance all round and Ormson certainly gets into the role as the show proceeds. As to whether the character is supposed to rub his hands over his lips immediately after kissing Wednesday is somewhat unclear? Valda Aviks’ Grandma is spot on; a natural-born comedienne with perfect timing. Some very droll and believable moments from her. Charlotte Page really comes into her own at the point when her character, Mrs Alice Beineke, turns into honesty personified – very funny. Good ole, reliable, if apparently mute, Lurch, brought to us by Dickon Gough, is a cleverly-written and funny character and the twist works really well, but no spoilers here. Gough produces those movements so smartly and with knowing appeal. Grant McIntyre, as Pugsley Addams, Wednesday’s little bro, does a good job but sometimes lacks conviction. He is hilarious at some moments, however.
Andrew Lippa’s fantastic music and intelligent lyrics are absolutely matched to the story and the live orchestra brings out the best in Lippa’s work. Diego Pitrach’s atmospheric set, especially the moon scenes, is utterly effective. Costumes are equally colourful , inventive and apt. Matthew White’s direction is self-evidently sharp and cohesive.
A thoroughly enjoyable and heart-warming piece of entertainment.
Runs until 28 October 2017 | Image: Contributed