REVIEW: Addams Family leaves Theatre Royal audience in raptures

The cast of The Addams Family. Photo by Matt Martin
The cast of The Addams Family. Photo by Matt Martin

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky......the time-honoured traditional way of describing The Addams Family — and the launch of the musical of the same name at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal lived up to this in spades.

The show oozed promise and has been riding the crest of a wave since it’s unveiling earlier this year and lived up to all the expectation, being much more than the sum of its parts.

I was anticipating a much-loved set of characters, two well-known stars, a brilliant supporting cast and incredible score.

But I’m not sure I — or my nine-year-old son — quite expected the energy-packed ride we were about to embark on across the two-and-a-half hours of the show.

Samantha Womack, fresh from her departure from Albert Square as Eastenders’ Ronnie Mitchell, was an excellent Morticia, while Les Dennis was brilliant — as well as unrecognisable — as Fester.

But the stars of the show from a cast perspective were Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday Addams, thanks to her incredible voice, and Cameron Blakely as Gomez, thanks to his swashbuckling presence, comic timing and brilliant musicality.

Elements of the 1960s black-and-white TV show — and the subsequent movies featuring Angelica Houston and Raul Julia — were peppered throughout the story.

However the original script, centred around Wednesday falling for All-American boy Lucas Beineke (Oliver Ormson), whose family are as stereotypical of the States as apple pie, dovetail beautifully with the incredibly energetic songs.

The tone and pitch was set from the off with the fabulous ‘When You’re An Addams’ featuring the whole cast as the ‘living’ members of the clan bring back to life dead ancestors in the graveyard.

What follows is a classic love story as two ‘kids’, from different backgrounds, battle to cement their love while trying to placate or unite their families.

But here it is poor Gomez who is caught in the middle with the quandary of whether to keep the secret entrusted to him by his daughter of her and Lucas’ engagement or whether to reveal all to his wife from whom he has never kept a secret.

His dilemma is summed up in one lyric when he declares Wednesday is growing up so fast ‘she will be Thursday soon’.

There is plenty of high jinks when Lucas and his parents — Mal (Dale Rapley) and Alice (Charlotte Page) — arrive for an introductory dinner at the Addams mansion at the heart of Central Park.

And it reaches a crescendo at the end of the first act when everyone plays ‘the game’ of ‘Full Disclosure’ — perhaps something that shouldn’t be replicated at real-life Christmas dinner tables!

As things begin to unravel the three main relationships — Wednesday and Lucas, Morticia and Gomez, and Mal and Alice — hit the rocks with Fester, a man of “indeterminate sexuality” the only one seemingly finding happiness thanks to his ‘relationship’ with the moon.

But as you can imagine all comes good in the end as part of a show that maintains an incredible standard, energy and enthusiasm as confirmed by the crowd’s standing ovation and raptures of applause throughout.

This is an outstanding musical made all the better by supporting characters such as Grandma (Valda Aviks), Pugsley (Grant McIntyre) and Lurch (Dickon Goff), who gets his moment in the spotlight at the end.

In the words of the original theme tune, ‘they really are a scream, The Addams Family’.

Addams Family continues at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham until Saturday, July 1. For infomation on this show and others, including at the adjoining Concert Hall, CLICK HERE