Dating from the 1960s, the original Addams Family only ran for two seasons but its quirky humour and distinctive characters meant that it has become a cult show beloved by all ages over the generations.
Turning the idea into a musical comedy was always going to run the risk of being panned by the show’s devotees, but, since hitting Broadway in 2010, it has proved a massive hit and the packed audience at the opening night at The Regent appreciated the production not just as a worthy homage to the original concept but also as a sparkling slice of entertainment in its own right.
The family’s daughter Wednesday has fallen in love and has decided to become engaged to Lucas. The problem is that her lover comes from a family not of the Addams’ world and Wednesday forces her father to keep the intending matrimony a secret until after the dinner party that will allow the Beineke family to meet with the Addams clan for the first time. As Gomez never keeps a secret from his wife Morticia, this is a difficult undertaking and, with Lucas’ parents Mal and Alice having issues of their own, the meal has the potential to doom all of the relationships.
As expected, as a former Strictly Star Joanne Clifton comes into her own in the dance routines but she has the all-round flair to be a big noise in musical theatre and plays Morticia with all of the sass and haughtiness required. Kingsley Morton is also an actor to look out for as she commanded the stage as Wednesday. Ahmed Hamad gave a believable performance as the love-struck Lucas and there were good performances from Sean Kingsley and Jessica Keable as Mal and Alice with Keable having a particularly good singing voice.
Matt Slack is perfectly cast as the loopy but extremely likeable Uncle Fester, Grant McIntyre brings out the best in mischievous Pugsley and there are very entertaining comedic scenes from Carol Ball as Grandma and Ryan Bennet as Lurch with a great twist from Bennet at the end of the show.
Undoubtedly, the star of the show is Cameron Blakely who is the quintessential Latin matinee idol. He has excellent on-stage relationships with his wife and daughter, exhibits great comic timing and has a voice to die for. Blakely has been playing this part since its original UK tour and he fits into the character as if it were a fine leather glove.
Backed by a talented ensemble, the production flies along and the staging of the opening number When You’re an Addams gives a glorious foretaste of the delights to come in the following 2 hours 45 minutes including interval. Andrew Lippa’s sumptuously intricate lyrics are matched by superb choreography from Alistair David. The Addams Family has many laugh-out-loud moments with outstanding lighting and sound devised by Ben Cracknell and Richard Brooker on a set designed by Diego Pitarch. Director Matthew White and Musical Director Bob Broad have produced a feast of delights.
During the production, we are asked to decide what is normal. Define normal? It is to be whisked into the world of musical theatre with a magical production that captivates the audience. Just another normal night, then!!
The production continues until April 2nd. For ticket information, contact 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/stoke
I spoke with Cameron Blakely recently – He plays the part of Gomez in this fantastic stage show. Listen below: