The Addams Family Musical Review | The Lowry | Manchester
You may remember the comic strip, sixties TV show or animation in which the macabre American family brought their unconventional traditions to your attention. The Addams’ bizarre family dynamic is a satire on American ideals, but their far from frightening presence has developed into a watered-down parody of itself. Injecting a star cast to take on Gomez (Cameron Blakely), Morticia (Samantha Womack), Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher), Pugsley, and, Fester (Les Dennis), the production runs through a familiar story of diversity and difference, enveloping the 82-year-old family.
After partying with past family members at the graveyard, Uncle Fester enlists the help of the dead to ensure that Wednesdays dinner with "muggle" boyfriend, Lucas goes according to plan when for two families meet. Predictability ensues. Nevertheless, The Addams Family values are worthy of repeat viewing, with the production back at the Lowry for its second run. The narrative is rightfully nonsensical, offering audiences a character driven, grounded storyline, teamed with emotionally driven musical numbers that keep the show upbeat and bright. With songs including Trapped, What If? and Happy/Sad fuelling the famous gothic family’s plot, the show feels reminiscent of musical Wicked without the bad witch.
Fortunately, the traditional storyline can easily be forgiven with director Matthew White infusing the narrative with wonderfully lavish staging and an incredibly talented and likeable cast. Distractions don’t usually save a musicals material but between the ghostly ancestors’ dance numbers and phenomenal floor to ceiling sets from Diego Pitrach, there are enough surprises to keep the show feeling new and relevant. The old-school production techniques also gave the show an easy-going, nostalgic feel, making it a joy to watch Wednesday shoot her arrow across the room or witness a mini Festus fly his jetpack to the moon.
The musical offers a relaxed and entertaining production with a charming soundtrack attached. The show is enhanced by its high-level production that allows its large ensemble cast to roam around each performance and ensure there is constantly something happening in its two tiered haunted house. Cameron Blakey as Gomez and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday deliver fantastic performances that carry the production musically. While Les Dennis and Womack look completely at ease in their roles, throwing themselves into the lovesick and hunchbacked positions within the comedy.
The Addams Family Musical is far from a nightmarish revisiting of its gothic origin. Its refreshingly upbeat melodies are unsurprisingly conventional but will leave you with a spring in your step and an earworm of its theme tune.