If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that my mum and I headed to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham last night to see the very first UK tour of The Addams Family, which is a musical comedy from the writers of the multi-award winning hit show, Jersey Boys. And as I know you guys enjoy reading my theatre reviews as much as I enjoy writing them, I thought I’d tell you all about it today in case you’re thinking of heading to your nearest theatre to see it yourself. So, are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!
WHAT IS THE ADDAMS FAMILY ABOUT?
Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and keeping a shocking secret from her family – she’s fallen in love with a sweet young man named Lucas who comes from a ‘normal’, respectable family. She confides in her father, Gomez, that Lucas has asked her to marry him, and she begs him not to tell her mother, Morticia, as she thinks she’ll start asking all sorts of super embarrassing questions. Of course, Gomez has never kept a secret from his beloved wife before, and things start to unravel from here on in.
Wednesday invites Lucas and his parents to their mansion for dinner and begs her family to act normal for just one night. But can that ever happen? And will Gomez be able to keep his daughter’s secret without ruining the beautiful, honest relationship he has with the wife he cherishes? I couldn’t wait to find out!
MY THOUGHTS ON THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Having never seen The Addams Family on TV before, I had no preconceptions of what the show was going to be like. And, if I’m being honest, I’m really glad that this was the case. It meant I could just sit and enjoy the show without comparing it to what I’ve seen in the past. I did recognise some of the cast members though, such as West End star and internet sensation Carrie Hope Fletcher, comedian Les Dennis, and actress Samantha Womack, and I was interested to see what their characters would be like, and how they’d work together on stage.
My mum and I took our seats in the auditorium about ten minutes before the show was due to start, and, as usual, the theatre was packed full of people laughing, joking, and ready to enjoy their night out. I spotted quite a few children in the audience as well, which is always good to see. The stage was all set up ready for the performance to start, and it was made to look like the outside of a magnificent mansion. It looked absolutely fantastic, and I had a feeling from that moment that it was going to be one heck of a show!
So, the show begins with an upbeat musical version of The Addams Family theme tune, followed by Gomez, played by Cameron Blakely, telling us all about being an Addams, and how it’s the one night of the year when their whole family, living, dead, (or undecided), come together for a celebration. A crypt is opened, and a bunch of kooky ancestors from all different periods of time emerge, each looking a little worse for wear (well, they are supposed to be dead). The ancestors included a ballerina, a Viking, a jester, a matador, a geisha, a Roman, and a ringmaster, among others. I was blown away by how fantastically detailed each of their costumes was! I guess I hadn’t been expecting there to be much colour involved in a show about a family who loves darkness, but I was seriously wrong about that!
At this point we also meet Gomez’s immediate family – his lovely wife, Morticia, their now-grown-up daughter, Wednesday, their younger son, Pugsley, Grandma Addams, Uncle Fester, and Lurch, the Butler who doesn’t speak. When they were all stood on stage together they looked just like a real-life family, and I think that’s so important in a show like this.
One of the first things I noticed during Act 1 was just how much effort had been put into designing the set for the Addams Family. I mentioned before that it was made to look like a magnificent mansion, but so many parts of the show were set in different areas of the mansion, which meant that certain features needed to keep being moved as each scene played out. Most of the time the cast moved them as they either entered or left the stage, and they made it look completely effortless.
I think my favourite place in the mansion would have to be the playroom, where Wednesday tortures Pugsley while she sings ‘Pulled’. It had me laughing, yet cringing at the same time! I felt so bad for poor Pugsley, although he seemed to enjoy the torture immensely! Carrie’s vocals during ‘Pulled’ were just incredible. She has one of the most beautiful singing voices you’ll ever hear, and you can see just how much she loves performing whenever she’s in view. There’s one thing I would really like to know though: how do they hide her gorgeous curls when they turn her into Wednesday?! It was driving me mad trying to work it out last night. So Carrie, if you should ever stumble upon this review, will you please tweet me and let me know?!
I also loved being inside The Grotto, where Gomez keeps his own torture device – a chair with a rather nasty looking knife hidden in the seat! Apparently, he quizzes the people who come for dinner in here. And if he doesn’t like the answer they give to his questions? Well, I’ll let you guess what happens then …
The music in this particular musical is just gorgeous, and each one had me imagining a couple doing the tango (which I think was the whole point as Morticia and Gomez did a tango of their own towards the end). The ones I really enjoyed were the opening number, When You’re An Addams, Pulled, which was the song I mentioned before that Wednesday sang beautifully, Pugsley’s What If, which is about him worrying that his sister won’t want to torture him anymore if she goes ahead and marries Lucas, Full Disclosure, a big wacky chorus number that the family sing during an after dinner game, Just Around The Corner, a big number that Morticia sings about death, and Crazier Than You, a duet sung by Wednesday and Lucas when they realise that they’re actually perfect for each other. Aww.
What I liked most about The Addams Family, though, was that it gave every single cast member the opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight. And believe me, that’s not something you see in every musical! I want to mention at this point how much I enjoyed Grant McIntyre’s What If. I felt he really made the song his own, and it was clear that he was devastated at the thought of losing his older sister and never having her torture him ever again. So it came as no surprise when his character went on to do some seriously sneaky things to try and sabotage her relationship with Lucas later in the show.
I have to say, the acting in The Addams Family is just as brilliant as the singing. Les Dennis really surprised me – not only does he have brilliant comic timing, but he plays the part of the doting uncle so well. It’s clear from the outset that he just wants Wednesday to be happy. And he goes all out to try and ensure she has one ‘normal’ night when her parents and Lucas’ parents meet for the very first time. It doesn’t go quite according to plan, of course. But wouldn’t it have been a boring storyline if it had? By the end of the night, I wanted Les/Fester to be my uncle too, and it’s definitely changed my opinion of him as an actor.
Samantha’s Morticia remained perfectly poker-faced throughout the entire performance, and when there was a small disruption from the audience she just paused in a really mysterious sort of way, waited for it to pass, and then continued with her lines as though nothing had happened. What a pro!
I don’t think there could have been a better Gomez for the UK tour of The Addams Family than Cameron Blakely, either! He was hopping around the stage, sword fighting, telling joke after joke, and generally just being a doting husband and father. I loved his Spanish accent as well. It was just fab!
But for me, the real star of the show just had to be Dickon Gough, who played the part of Lurch, the Butler who doesn’t speak. To begin with, you don’t really notice him, bless his heart. But then he starts taking forever to move from one side of the stage to the other. And walks down the staircase one slow step at a time (not dissimilar to me when I get up in a morning), and you suddenly find yourself looking for him to provide a little light comic relief in between scenes.
At the end of the show Lurch suddenly finds his voice, and sings the opening lines to the show’s final number, Move Towards The Darkness. It’s safe to say that Dickon got one of the biggest cheers of the night. And when he started wiggling his bum as he left the stage at the very end, the audience were going nuts! I reckon he could have done it for at least another ten minutes before people started getting bored!
And finally, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from regularly going to see shows at The Theatre Royal, it’s that the Nottingham crowd can be a hard bunch to please. So when the cast got a standing ovation at the end I knew it was well deserved. And on the way out I overheard loads of people say how much they’d enjoyed it, and that they would definitely go and see it again. How great is that?!
Overall, The Addams Family Musical was weirdly wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to go and see it again. The casting was absolutely perfect – I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing any of the parts other than these guys. And even though I hadn’t heard any of the songs from the musical before, it really didn’t matter as I ended up loving them all! I’ve been humming ‘Crazier Than You’ and ‘Pulled’ ever since I left the theatre last night!
The show runs for approximately 2 and a half hours (including the interval) and is recommended for anyone aged 7 and over due to there being quite a few references to Morticia and Gomez’s ‘intense’ relationship. It really is a great show for families to go and see together as there’s something in it for everyone, and it’s guaranteed to make you chuckle.
The Addams Family is running at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday 1st July 2017, before continuing on its tour around the UK. Tickets for the shows can be booked by clicking here.
Have you guys ever seen The Addams Family Musical before?
Why not let me know in the comments below?