The Addams Family: The Comedy Musical – Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton

Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice

Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa

Director: Matthew White

Reviewer:  Natasha Hegarty

From the opening melody to when the riffs kick in, the audience is clicking its fingers in time with the familiar tune and The Addams Family: The Musical Comedy begins.

Wednesday Addams has gone and done the most revolting thing she could ever do: she has fallen head over heels in love. Lucas Beineke is an all-American guy with an uptight family and a mother who speaks in rhyme. Vile. The couple wants their families to meet so they can get their blessing to get married, but the Addams are anything but normal. Living in a house haunted by the ghosts of their ancestors and with a family that includes a brother who enjoys being tortured, the family makes an attempt at normality for their daughter for one night.

All Wednesday’s father Gomez, played exceptionally by Cameron Blakely, wants to do is have a happy life and that includes never, ever keeping secrets from his wife Morticia, however, the secret he’s holding on to threatens their marriage. Blakely’s comical performance of Trapped perfectly encapsulates his desperate need not to disappoint the two women in his life.

Carrie Hope Fletcher, fresh from a UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a resident as Eponine in Les Miserables in the West End, is the stand out star of the show as Wednesday Addams. She excels in her entire performance with her incredible vocal range and intelligence as an actor; her huge performance of Pulled is a highlight of the musical numbers.

Former EastEnders star, Samantha Womack, as macabre matriarch Morticia has a beautiful tone to her voice and has the look of the character fans will be familiar with from the films. However, she focuses extremely hard on getting Morticia’s specific physicality correct and this is to the detriment of other aspects of her character. There’s no real fire between her and her husband and Blakely pulls nearly all of the weight in their interactions. The couple’s tango, which really should be a massive climax in the show, is a bit bland and their lack of desire stands out for all the wrong reasons against an incredibly talented ensemble.

Completely unrecognisable as the bald and completely bizarre Uncle Fester is Les Dennis. As baffling as his role in the story is, the weirdness of the Addams Family is pretty much encapsulated in the character and wow, does he do it justice. The Moon and Me, an ode to his one true love – the moon – is both touching and completely insane.

As all the numbers are big and bold, the music does drown out the singers in a couple of numbers and can get a bit annoying, though this may improve as the tour continues. However, Andrew Lippa’s music is fabulous and in years to come there’s no doubt these catchy songs will be just as familiar to musical theatre fans as the rest of them.

There’s no doubt the whole show is rather mesmerising from Diego Pitarch’s sometimes overcrowded but still interesting set design to Ben Cracknell’s wonderful green lighting, which completely makes the staging come alive.

The Addams Family: The Comedy Musical is big, bold and completely insane, but almost every aspect is wonderful. It’s for all the family, the acting is brilliant, the music is great and the audience loves every minute. It is far from One Normal Night, but who wants to be normal anyway?

Runs until 13 May 2017   and on tour| Image: Contributed

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The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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