Halloween may be over a month away but The Lowry is already getting theatre-goers in a ghoulish mood with the latest production to make the Salford location its home, The Addams Family.
If you are old enough (and want to admit it) you might remember the cult black and white series back in the 60s focusing on the macabre but loveable family, or, if not, the more recent 90s movie of the same name starring the deliciously dark Angelica Houston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez Addams.
As is the case now with most successful films they eventually get transformed for the stage and, having already been a hit on Broadway, the musical comedy version of The Addams Family is finally hitting UK and Irish audiences with its premiere tour.
The story here is simple; Wednesday Addams (Carrie Hope Fletcher) has fallen in love. Nothing wrong with that…apart from the fact it is with Lucas an all American boy with an all American family. When Wednesday decides to bring Lucas and his family home for tea, she realises meeting the Addams might have some kooky consequences on their relationship! And how will her mother Morticia (Samantha Womack) react when she finds out her daughter has fallen in love with somebody ‘normal’?
It’s a fans dream from start to finish with the overture including the familiar TV theme tune getting people clicking along in glee plus there’s a script sprinkled full of Addams gimmicks. The opening number When You’re An Addams certainly packs a punch, setting the show off on the right tone and proving from the get go that the production has a talented cast of singers and dancers. Peaking so early may be to its detriment as from then on in there’s long number after long number which makes the action drag, especially in the first half of the musical.
Andrew Lippa may have created an original soundtrack but there’s not many of the 20 plus songs which are memorable after you leave the theatre and most could be cut down to a shorter length to give them a snappier feel. Plus, there’s no disguising Lippa’s inspiration from the musical Chicago with Full Disclosure, which gives much more than just a nod to the Kander and Ebb classic, We Both Reached For the Gun.
Aside from that the cast perform an impressive job of bringing the songs to life and encapsulate the spirit of the cherished characters from yester year.
Former Eastenders star Samantha Womack is perfect casting for Morticia, maintaining the dark sombre air of the matriarch of the kooky clan. Womack is a pro with a back catalogue of stage credits which shows here as she slinks her way effortlessly through every scene.
Les Dennis shines as bright as the lightbulb he puts in his mouth as Uncle Fester. The well-loved comedian turned actor is endearing as the quirky Uncle who just wants everybody to be happy. His facial expressions are on point as is his high pitched broken accent which encapsulates the Fester that fans are used to.
The strongest vocals come from Carrie Hope Fletcher as the Princess of Darkness, Wednesday. Her solo rendition of Pulled is truly superb and leaves the audience with goosebumps at her incredible talent.
The real showstopper of the piece has to be Cameron Blakely as the vibrant and funny Latin lover Gomez. His comedic delivery as he wrestles between his loyalty for his wife and his daughter has the audience in stitches, along with his delivery of witty one liners such as, “Wednesday’s growing up, she’ll be Thursday before we know it”!
Full marks go to designer Diego Pitarch for an incredibly atmospheric set which craetes the spooky tone of the show. His lavish Addams mansion is impressive with its boarded up floor to ceiling windows and hanging paintings (which, if you look closely, have people moving in them).
All things considered The Addams Family will provide you with a fun night at the theatre. It may not be in the league of Wicked or Hamilton but it has bags of enthusiasm, plenty of laughs and enough to keep you entertained for the duration.
You won’t go out humming the original score but you will still be wanting to finger snap your way to the car park!
Runs at The Lowry until 9th September