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 once frightening take has become a watered-down parody of itself.
Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, Fester, Thing and Lurch haven’t changed too much. 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 the two families meet. Predictability ensues.
The story is rightfully nonsensical but ultimately it is a character driven, grounded storyline, teamed with emotionally driven musical numbers that keep the show upbeat and bright. With the songs like Trapped, What If? and Happy/Sad fuelling the gothic family plot, it often felt like watching the musical Wicked without the bad witch.
Fortunately, the stories flaws are easily forgotten with such a likeable cast and high-end production. Distractions don’t usually save a productions material but between the ghostly ancestors’ dance numbers and floor to ceiling sets from Diego Pitrach, there were enough surprises. The old-school production techniques also gave the show an easy going nostalgic feel. It was a joy to watch Wednesday shoot her arrow the room and see a mini Festus fly his jetpack to the moon.
Once you have readjusted your expectations, it becomes a relaxed and entertaining production to sit through. Its musical numbers are charming and funny. Cameron Blakey as Gomez and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday deliver strong routines that carry the production musically. Les Dennis (Fester) and Sam Womack (Morticia) look comfortable in their roles and their supporting comedic scenes help keep the show afloat.
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.