Spooks, spectres and The Addams Family
HEY’RE creepy and they’re kooky and now The Addams Family can add stylish to their repertoire of traits.
The standing ovation as the hit Broadway musical opened at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on Saturday night was loud enough to wake the dead.
Based on Charles Addams’ macabre cartoons, which in turn inspired the 1960s TV sitcom, The Addams Family is a tonguein-cheek assault of ghoulish one-liners.
A clever use of curtaining frames the musical as a comic book, but what gives extra weight is a story about trust and loyalty from writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
The plot is based around Wednesday Addams, played by Teagan Wouters, falling in love with a respectable young man Lucas Beineke (Tim Maddren) and begging her parents for a ‘‘normal’’ night at an introductory dinner with his family.
The well-meaning Gomez Addams (John Waters) keeps news of their engagement from his wife Morticia (Chloe Dallimore), but his lies only lead to a series of blunders as relationships are pushed to the limit.
Following lukewarm reviews when the show opened on Broadway in 2010, incoming director Jerry Zaks promised Australian audiences a ‘‘best ever’’ version of The Addams Family. His rewrites have paid off.
There is a juicier arc between Gomez and Morticia with the two leads sharing a sizzling chemistry, mainly through their dancing. Former Brisbane boy Russell Dykstra is cute as Fester Addams, his serenading of the moon one of the musical highlights from composer Andrew Lippa.
Katrina Retallick is the surprise package as under-the-thumb Alice Beineke. Her big number, Waiting, is a showstopper, and a catalyst for her boring husband Mal Beineke (Tony Harvey) to refind his spark.
Jokes that fall flatter than Lurch’s singing delivery only add to a comedy that never takes itself seriously, for there are scores more gags that hit the mark.
Despite occasionally touching on the fragility of our existence, most poignantly in the Morticia-led song Death Is Just Around The Corner, this is a show for the family that is bursting with life.
plays Sydney’s Capitol Theatre. Visit addamsfamilythemusical.com.au for details.
(from left) Blake Hurford (Pugsley), Meredith O’Reilly (Grandma), Chloe Dallimore (Morticia), John Waters (Gomez), Ben Hudson (Lurch), Teagan Wouters (Wednesday) and Russell Dykstra (Uncle Fester).