Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester – until 9 September. Reviewed by Julie Noller
There has been a lot of hype surrounding The Addams Family, after press releases and appearances by the cast on various tv shows, I was very excited (possibly an understatement) to be asked to watch it at The Lowry and give my very humble opinions. My fifteen year old asked me was this the show with Wednesday? Could she come as she had seen clips shared on youtube and Facebook, obviously our future generation taking an interest in their own way. My interest came in remembering old black and white tv repeats dating from the 60’s strangely I would’ve been my daughters age when first watching them. We arrived in brilliant sunshine at the theatre walking the purple carpet a great touch and certainly impressed my teen. The prescence of more than one photographer told me this would be an event where we would see many celebrities, I quietly scuttled in after all I’m hardly worthy of Hello magazine. The Lowry Theatre with its welcoming environment and relaxed atmosphere meant sitting next to stars of Corronation Street – Les Dennis has walked those cobbled streets, so they were obviously supporting a fellow cast member and there to enjoy a good show.
The programme was not just a booklet this was a big glossy souvenir brochure, full of facts and photographs, I was very impressed and not for the last time.
The theatre was fairly slow to fill up but it was packed come curtain up, I noted the number of people taking selfies and including the stage backdrop with its wonderful ironggates monogrammed with A for Addams. They are afterall a family who do not shy away. There was also plenty in character dress, lots of plaits, some in fancy dress this really added to the atmosphere and reminded me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The performance starts with The Addams Family theme tune, cue the audience clicking fingers at the right point, I noted the bemused look on my teens face a cross betweeen oh god Mum to everyones mad. I had prepared her via youtube of course but still a teens life is hard.
I was interested to learn that Charles Addams created his cartoon characters in the 1930’s which may explain cerain aspects of the family’s dress codes,
Gomez with his pinstripe suit for example it was great to see those touches from the tv show days remained. It may also explain those traits that seem exaggerated to my untrained eye and make perfect sense.
Did I enjoy the show? Of course it was fantastic, I don’t want to retell you the story I want to tell you my thoughts and feelings. Its quintessentially a love story that crosses many divides. It’s a story told with great humour, a musical that packs talent, it has stars who’s names are houshold names we all know them. Cameron Blakely may have reminded me of the late Bruce Forsyth but his spanish lilt never faltered, Samantha Womack as Morticia wow those legs such an impressive tango and what a transformation with the addition of the traditional black glossy hair. The biggest transformation had to be for Les Dennis as Uncle Fester his costume was amazing and singing in character well who knew? I did wonder if he would adlib at all but I do believe apart from jibes at the audience about cheap seats and mentioning Donald Trump at NATO he was well behaved. Grandma was my favourite character, naughty by age and able to blame age but was she actually a member of the family? Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday wow wow wow what a voice, we both (teen and Mum) loved her dress, they should add those to the souvenir stall along with tshirts and mugs. Grant McIntyre as Pugsley with his high pitched screams giving the youth of today ideas. Dickon Gough as Lurch my teens favourite character she found him hilarious and totally unexpected (who doesn’t love a surprise) was his voice, I’m no expert but it’s powerful baritone richness raised the rafters.
I wish I could name everyone for special praise from Director Mathew White to Rhona McGregor who came on for Charlotte Page as Alice Beineke.
The Addams are they really depraved? Are they not just a typical family shown to the extreme, couldn’t we all sometimes just live life that little bit on the edge? What if the monster in the wardrobe was accepted? There is no PC correctness here, its all just accepted as humour and laugh we did. My favourite line had all Mums in the audience laughing before the punchline. Gomez asks Wednesday to say the words every Mother longs to hear….. you know it’s I’m sorry that’s coming, it bemused my teen that other Mums could think like me. Special Thanks for that life lesson.
The big musical numbers are reminiscent of early traditional musicals where stars would belt out numbers, I see Judy Garland on stage in my head. There was a touch of High School Musical when Wednesday and Lucas were together for the number ‘I’m crazier than you’ (I’m even singing it now to myself).
It is well deserving of 5***** why? Because it’s slick, music and songs powerful, memorable lines, fabulous costumes, my teen now wants to buy Dad a smoking jacket. Set design is eerie yet welcoming, I picture a house tucked away in Central Park. I haven’t even mentioned the Ensemble of ancestors who fill the stage and manage to stop the it from looking empty, there may be a lack of furniture for The Addams but people fill the space where material possessions are lacking. So go and see this much hyped show it’s guaranteed not to disappoint you.