They’re crazy and they’re kooky and, for many of us, the graveyard humour of America’s first Goth family – The Addams Family – are part of our childhood.
The antics of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester and the kids Wednesday and Pugsley, together with their monstrous monosyllabic butler, Lurch, began life as a cartoon, became an iconic TV series, was revived for a hit movie and is now a lively stage show.
The Addams Family – The Musical Comedy is now touring the UK and is thrilling a whole new generation of fans. It’s fun, madcap, and works brilliantly with big production numbers and songs slipping seamlessly into an eccentric plot.
Les Dennis, barely recognisable under heavy make-up, padding, and with a shaved head, plays the barking mad Uncle Fester, who is in love with the moon, while Sam Womack, all feline eyes and razor-sharp cheekbones, glides around the stage as Morticia, doing a good impersonation of Victoria Beckham.
But it is the little known Cameron Blakely who steals the show as the hen-pecked yet totally devoted, Daliesque patriarch, Gomez.
Poor Gomez finds himself caught between his wife and sadistic daughter, Wednesday – now a troublesome teen – and unable to please everyone.
Morticia gives the love of her life the cold shoulder when he breaks the number one house rule after being entrusted with a huge secret that Wednesday wants kept from her mother.
The Addams may be a truly peculiar and unique family but, deep down, they’re no different from The Waltons.
This respectable middle-class, aspirational, family, who live in a haunted house in tne heart of Central Park, just wear a lot of black and enjoy torture, communing with the dead, and day trips to the sewers.
But some things never change. Wednesday is in love with a regular boy and she’s done the normal thing – invited the potential in-laws to dinner.
The only problem is how on earth will this ordinary couple from Ohio react when they meet her freakish family?
Fester enlists the help of the Addams ghostly ancestors, the show’s eye-catching company of dancers dressed in an outstanding array of costumes from designer Diego Pitarch, to help ensure everything goes smoothly.
The show has some memorably big numbers including When You’re An Addams, One Normal Night and Full Disclosure but it is the solos – Fester poignantly declaring his love in The Moon and Me and the hot-blooded Gomez lamenting his marriage problems in Not Today and parenthood with Wednesday’s Growing Up, that we all empathise with.
The secret to a long and happy marriage, according to Morticia, is to be scrupulously honest with each other, no secrets, and three tangos a day. Their passionate making up, with, indeed a perfect tango, is utterly charming.
Dickon Gough makes a stunning Lurch who reveals a spectacularly good operatic voice in the finale and Carrie Hope Fletcher, as the snarling Wednesday, is also impressive.
Thing, the disembodied hand, is a bit disappointing. I must admit I was expecting some sort of anamatronic wonder, and, sadly, there is no room in Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman’s story for Cousin It.
But, overall, The Addams Family is entertaining, funny, surreal and life-affirming – despite the funereal comedy.
2017 UK Tour Dates
New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday Canterbury Marlowe, 23-27 May Southend Cliffs Pavilion, 30 May-3 June Birmingham Hippodrome, 6-10 June Theatre Royal Bath, 13-17 June Hall for Cornwall, Truro, 20-24 June Nottingham Theatre Royal, 27 June-1 July Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, 4-8 July Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, 18-29 July Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, 1-12 August Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, 15-26 August The Lowry, Salford, 29 August-9 September Sheffield Lyceum, 12-16 September Bristol Hippodrome, 19-23 September New Victoria Theatre, Woking, 26-30 September Grand Opera House, Belfast, 3-7 October Glasgow King’s Theatre, 10-14 October Wolverhampton Grand, 17-21 October Milton Keynes Theatre, 24-28 October Orchard Theatre, Dartford, 31 October-4 November.
The Addams Family
The Addams Family is reinvented as an oddball musical comedy and it’s darkly funny, boasting knockout performances from the entire company.