Book: Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Director: Matthew White
Reviewer: Tate James
Halloween has come early to Salford as The Lowry becomes the new home of The Addams Family. The characters from Charles Addams’ cartoons in The New Yorker became the inspiration for the TV series and then the movie, and its famous theme song had every audience member double clicking on cue as the show opened last night.
Gomez and Morticia Addams proudly raise their weird and wonderful family to enjoy every moment of their miserable life in their run down mansion house in Central Park. With a soft spot for all things macabre and disgusting, Gomez is horrified to learn that his teenage daughter Wednesday is engaged to marry into a family quite unlike their own. “She’s growing up so fast” he cries “Soon she’ll be Thursday!”. Before sealing the deal, the young lovers want to prove their families can meet and get along; which just happens to be arranged for the one evening each year when all of the Addams Family ancestors are raised from the dead. Cue the thunder and lightning.
It’s an evening of torture of the greatest kind: although basic and reminiscent of the original TV series, the script from Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice is witty; Matthew White’s direction is fast paced and focused, and the delightfully distressed scenic and costume design from Diego Pitarch captures the mood of the television and film counterparts we all recognise. What sets this show apart though, and makes it far more than any usual night of family theatre, is the song and dance. Alistair David’s choreography is pitched perfectly, using the talented ensemble of Ancestors to capture every nuance in the deliciously intelligent score from Andrew Lippa.
Leading the cast as Gomez Addams is the brilliant Cameron Blakely, the harried father and devoted husband torn between being supportive of his daughter and truthful to his wife. At his side, Samantha Womack is gorgeously gruesome as Morticia; and Carrie Hope Fletcher is boisterous and butch with impressive pipes as she belts her heart out as Wednesday Addams. The surprise scene-stealer of the night though is Les Dennis, completely unrecognisable as Uncle Fester, our quasi-narrator with a minor love story (no spoilers about his love!). He is the perfect host for an evening in the Addams Household, with many a laugh as well as some truly lovely musical moments!
It might not be ground-breaking theatre, but it’s jam packed with scary sets, ghoulish gags, terrifying treats and everything else you’d expect from an evening in a haunted house! Book now or else! (Cue evil laugh)
Runs until 9 September 2017 | Image: Contributed