The Addams Family

Jun 28 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩  Addams fine show

King’s Theatre Friday 27 – Saturday 28 June

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, and they’re altogether on stage at the King’s Theatre.

The Addams Family in the Graveyard. Photo ©  Andrew Gowland

The Addams Family in the Graveyard. Photo © Andrew Gowland

For three performances only, MGA Academy students brought the Addams Family to life – or perhaps death – in the Scottish premiere of the award-wining Broadway musical.

As we rejoin the TV and film favourites, torturing tween Wednesday is now a young woman in love with Lucas, a student she’s met while wandering Central Park.

Sounds normal enough, but at the time, weird Wednesday was hunting with her crossbow. Now she’s invited Lucas’ parents – regular folk from Ohio – for dinner to meet her family. And if the parents get along, they’ll announce their engagement.

Cue a quiver of complications: Wednesday tells dad Gomez of the plan, forcing him to keep a secret from wife Morticia for the first time; Morticia immediately realises Gomez is keeping something from her and hates it; little brother Pugsley fears he’ll miss out on torture sessions if Wednesday leaves, so steals a magic potion from his witchy Grandma; Lucas’ dad, Mal, thinks the Addams a bunch of crazy Spaniards, while mum Alice is a little off herself, speaking in rhyme much of the time.

Even before the show officially starts, the audience knows this is something different, as a bunch of glamorous ghouls – Elvis, Marilyn, Jack Sparrow and more – mingle. They settle into the auditorium boxes and become the show’s chorus, supporting, and occasionally interacting with, the main cast.

“a thoroughly modern monstress…”

And their first job is to snap their fingers, as the Sixties TV show theme segues into opening number When You’re an Addams, a big, bold song and dance routine for the entire onstage company. MGA’s students ace it, dazzling with their splendid singing and precision dancing.

And that’s how it is for the whole production, with number after number showcasing the talents of the cast, but always serving the story. And no one tries to scene steal – the ensemble members support one another superbly. Musical director Simon Hanson’s band provides perfect accompaniment, including a few tiny, witty additions that enhance the original score.

In order to give as many students a chance to perform as possible, some roles were dual-cast, meaning the Saturday Addamses weren’t necessarily the Friday Addamses.

Such as Wednesday, played on Friday by Rebecca Gilhooley as a thoroughly modern monstress who loves her fearsomely funny family, but knows there’s a whole world outside the Addams’ gloomy mansion that she just might like too. Gilhooley is the perfect Goth next door, big voiced with a nice line in comedy and the acting chops to convey Wednesday’s conflicted emotions.

She’s matched by, well, everyone – there wasn’t a mediocre turn in the show, from George Fanzio’s tango-mad Gomez to Abigail Stenhouse’s sexy, formidable Morticia via Kieran Wynne’s gruff, exceedingly tall Lurch. Amy-Beth Littlejohn’s unpredictable Grandma is a delight, a mad old crone with a nice line in wisdom; A McColl’s Pugsley is the perfect outcast, a nasty brat who nevertheless evokes sympathy. And as lightbulb-loving Uncle Fester, whose romantic heart is the fulcrum on which the show turns, Peter Vint is suitably electric.

Thomas Doherty, Alex Booth and Rhona Hay are similarly perfectly cast as supposed normals Lucas, Mal and Alice, holding their own against the more obviously eye-catching Addamses.


The Beineke Family. Photo © Andrew Gowland

You may not know Andrew Lippa’s songs going in, but by the end of the show you’ll be singing the likes of Crazier Than You, One Normal Night, Happy Sad and Full Disclosure, numbers which are funny where funny is needed, poignant if that’s what’s required and endlessly catchy.

In between the production numbers, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice flesh out Charles Addams’ amusingly one-note characters in a story of love and death that drips with great gags. Director Andrew Gowland wrangles his massive cast with panache, using the full extent of the King’s playing space to recreate the Addams’ spooky world of creatures and crypts.

Murray Grant’s choreography is sharply economic, there’s plenty going on but never so much that movement becomes migraine. Vocal coach Marcella Macdonald is obviously – sorry, audibly – fantastic at her job, CJ Hill’s costumes are a treat for the eyes, while Gordon Pyper’s moody sets enable a pacy production.

The whole team deserves massive credit for a job brilliantly done, and I only wish I’d seen the show again to compare cast members. Having attended several MGA productions, I’m pretty sure The Addams Family Take Two would be differently played, but equally good.

While the current cast will go on to great things, MGA should keep this production in its repertoire to dust off in future years for a longer run. Then again, given we’re talking the Addams Family, adding more dust might make it even better.

Running Time 2hrs 40mins (including interval )
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edunburgh EH3 9LQ
Friday 27 – Saturday 28 June 2014
Run ended


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