Reviewed by Jenny Bray
I used to love The Addams Family as being deliciously dark and creepy yet oddly endearing and quirky (I was in an ‘alternative stage’ of adolescence at the time) so I was pleased to be able to see the touring musical in Sheffield. It is based on the tv series and film characters and yet, refreshingly, not a repeat of an existing storyline but a continuation of the story, showing the children as older than in the films and tv series. It is labelled as a ‘musical comedy’ and Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and Andrew Lippa combined forces to create it.
Uncle Fester (Scott Paige) opens the show with the announcement about turning mobile phones off. The iconic music that can only be linked to the Addams family is used both here and at various points of the show. The initial stage setting is dark and has the Addams’ gate with a large gold A on in centre stage and turrets either side of the stage. This quickly changes to a graveyard setting where the family emerge.
The story follows a grown up Wednesday (Kingsley Morton), who has fallen in love with a ‘normal’ person, Lucas (played tonight by Matthew Ives). Their eyes had met across Central Park while Wednesday was shooting pigeons with a large crossbow! It follows the trials and tribulations that follow when their families meet for the first time, including poor Gomez (Cameron Blakely) being stuck between a rock and a hard place between loyalty to his daughter and to his wife, both of whom he adores. Wednesday just wants them all to ‘act normal’ for Lucas’ parents so that they can all get on… The Addams family acting normal??? You can guess how that went down…
Cameron Blakely plays a great Gomez, with a Spanish accent and a knack for pointing out the obvious troubles he is under to the audience while following Morticia around, doting on her.
The costumes for the main characters consisted of a suitable amount of black! Morticia (Joanne Clifton) wore a standard full length black dress and partially glides around the stage. The casting for the characters had been expertly done with all the main characters instantly recognisable, not just due to costume and expert make up but by their overall look. Lurch (Dickon Gough) was suitably tall and overbearing and Fester was as round and bald as hoped!
Fester provides a great link between the show and the audience, by almost taking on a narrators role on occasion. Watch out for who his true love is.
I liked Alice (Kara Lane) as a character and enjoyed seeing her develop through the show, particularly when playing ‘the game’ and her full disclosure. There are laughs a plenty throughout, but particularly due to Gomez.
Kingsley Morton’s voice (as Wednesday) was the musical highlight for me, particularly when singing ‘Pulled’ and ‘Crazier than you’, which highlighted her great range.
I don’t normally comment on the ensemble that support, but this time these are all worthy of comment as these performers are so intrinsic with the rest of the show and the eccentric costumes and choreography add to the drama and the unveiling plotline. They dance in and out of scenes that you’d sometimes expect them to look out of place in, yet the way they move is so fitting and adds to the scene. See if you can work out which famous historical characters they may be.
There were plenty of stage changes, remaining suitably dark and slightly eerie, to depict different settings both in and out of the Addams family home and the crew deftly moved everything between acts.
This show was on at the Lyceum in Sheffield, which is well signposted around the city centre with plenty of parking nearby. The local Q park at Charles Street has an agreement with the theatres to offer the first hour free if you get a ticket from a member of staff at the theatre. Otherwise, much of the on street parking near the theatre only requires a ticket until 8.30. Bag checking and e-tickets are checked in the fresh air, before entering the building. Masks are to be worn at all times, other than when eating or drinking.
This is marketed as a show suitable for children but I wasn’t sure whether the content may be a little dark for younger members of the audience. I’m pleased to say that it wasn’t and the children I saw there looked like they thoroughly enjoyed it.
It made a nice change to watch something that wasn’t overly sappy and was a continuation of a known storyline rather than a repeat of an existing film or story. It was also refreshing to combine music and comedy successfully without either suffering. I laughed more than I’d expected to at a musical. I’d definitely recommend seeing it while you can. After this week in Sheffield the current tour takes a break over Christmas, but is then touring again between January and June. Be prepared to want to click your fingers to the music at various points…
Rating: I rate it a 4.5/5
Tickets cost from £15
The Addams Family is at the Lyceum in Sheffield from Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th November, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Sheffield Theatres, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA