Inventive and energetic production of quirky gothic musical
By Amy Planner
That kooky family that we all know and love has been reborn in musical form in this production of The Addams Family, with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Presented by this year’s music theatre Arts Academy graduates from Federation University Australia in Ballarat, and based on the original cartoon characters by Charles Addams, this amusingly spooky tale is witty, unique, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky.
This gloriously gloomy tale follows the Addams clan as they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Wednesday decides she wants to marry the very normal, very cheery, yellow wearing boy, Lucas Beineke. When their families meet for the first time, when basic black meets bright and shiny, something is bound to go wrong.
This off-beat musical was decisively dependent on their creative team, whose unique vision of this crazy family and willingness to step outside the box certainly paid off. Director and choreographer David Wynen and musical director Rainer Pollard proved satisfyingly that what you think you know should never be what you expect when it comes to musical theatre.
The cast were diverse, multi-talented and even controversial at times. As is often the case in large-scale productions, some performers were stronger than others and deserve special mention such as Andrew Thomas as the seductively romantic Gomez Addams, Liam Dodds as the hilariously kooky Uncle Fester, Georgia Moore as the solemn but somehow hopelessly in love Wednesday Addams, and of course Paige Easter as the slightly off-centre and forever rhyming Alice Beineke.
The ensemble is also highly engaging: long moments pass where your eyes are glued to the ghostly figures in the background and yet you are still more than thoroughly entertained. These Addams ancestors, decked out in clothing from various eras, dance and sing their way through the entire show, including most notably the Roman Luke Wilson and Equestrian Rider and show dance captain Eliza Grundy.
These sleek era-styled costumes of the ensemble were the work of costume & set designer Adrienne Chisholm, whose work was artistically distinctive in the face of the extremely iconic image that is the Addams Family.
There were a number of technical difficulties throughout the performance I attended, with a few mic fades, some lighting trouble, a couple of projection issues and a 47-minute technical-related intermission. But despite all this, the performers remained calm and in character and should be commended for their professionalism.
If musical theatre and a little nostalgia are what you’re after, this production will delight and stimulate. You really should go and see ‘em, they really are a screa-um – check out The Addams Family. *Click *Click.
Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Season: June 18th-25th 2016 – Wed to Sat 7.30pm, Sun 19th 3pm, Sat 25th 1pm.
Tickets: $50 Full, $40 group 10+, $35 Conc, $10 Fed Uni Students (plus $2.50 booking fee)
Image by Jodie Hutchinson