Ever since the very first cartoon strip was published in the New Yorker, the lovably ghoulish characters from The Addams Family have captured the world’s imagination.
The beloved 60s television series and then the 90s film franchise further established the fiendish family as household favourites, but I think it’s within Andrew Lippa’s musical adaptation where the charismatic comedy crew fully find their niche.
The musical has previously enjoyed a successful run on Broadway, but the touring version, which opened last night in Wimbledon, marks the show’s UK première.
And what a premiere it is. With an astonishingly good cast performing some magnificent music, this is musical comedy at it’s best; it really does have everything.
We meet the family in something of a quandary. Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher) has fallen in love with a ‘normal’ boy (Oliver Ormson) and the revelation is something she knows will displease her mother Morticia (Samantha Womack). She confides in her father Gomez (Cameron Blakely), but the secret becomes a thorn their side and threatens to derail the family’s close knit culture.
Queue some dastardly dealings from ousted younger brother Pugsley and a large dose of mayhem at family dinner and the resulting cacophony hits all of the right notes.
What really makes this show however, is not just that the book by Rick Elice and lyrics by Andrew Lippa are hilarious, but that they contain some truly heart warming messages about love and being true to yourself.
The relationship between the Cameron Blakely’s magnetic Gomez and Samantha Womack’s statuesque Morticia is intoxicating and their act two tango is a real highlight.
Les Dennis provides some adorable comedy succour as crazy Uncle Fester and Grant McIntyre, Dickon Gough and Charlotte Page in turn take their chance to shine with class.
The real stars of the show however, are the young couple befuddled by the first flurries of love. Oliver Ormson captures some adolescent torment with a sensitive performance and Carrie Hope Fletcher completely owns the role of Wednesday. Fletcher not only boasts an exquisite voice, but also perfectly portrays the steely resolve – which is the trademark of the macabre juvenile – and then the crack in the armour, when she is torn between loyalty for her family and the love for her new beau.
With a magical set design by Diego Pitarch and an exuberant ensemble, the show is also visually stunning and there are some amusing tongue in cheek tricks mixed with impressive effects to create an elegant backdrop to the famed graveyard.
The Addams Family is a spooky spectacular and one of the best shows of the year so far.