Saturday, May 25

The Addams Family – Daneside Theatre

Trinity Amateur Operatic Society (TAOS) presents The Addams Family at the stunning Daneside Theatre in Congleton from the 23rd – 27th of April 2024, directed by Paul Downham, assisted by Izzy Rowe and based on characters created by Charles Addams and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.

The Addams Family has become enormously popular over the years for many theatre companies, this being my fourth viewing of the show in less than 6 months. I have witnessed some great performances of this show but none as outstanding as TAOS’s delivery of this classic spooky tale. I feel quite anxious about writing this review as I want to ensure I pay justice to this phenomenal cast and crew on their outstanding delivery of The Addams Family that they so rightly deserve! I will apologise in advance if I do not mention each and every member of the cast, but please be assured that your part was just as significant, and you all did a stupendous job in delivering this remarkable production.

The story is that of the kooky, upside-down world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy, and death and suffering are the stuff of their dreams. Nonetheless, this quirky family still must deal with many of the same challenges faced by any other family, the biggest being that of our children growing up and falling in love.

Wednesday Addams (Becky Brady) is growing up and has fallen in love with Lucas (Kieran Picken) a young man from a normal, respectable, if somewhat conservative family. Wednesday confides in her father Gomez (Harry Jones) that she is secretly engaged and has invited Lucas’s family to dinner. She tells her father not to tell her mother about the engagement – Gomez is then conflicted having never lied or kept anything from his wife Morticia (Laura Beech) however, he remains silent and promises his daughter that they will try to act as normal as possible for the duration of the dinner.

As the show unfolds Wednesday is not the only one hiding a secret, as there is more than meets the eye to the seemingly perfect parents Alice (Louise Colohan) and Mal (Michael Shneck). You see Pugsley (Sophie Williams) the mischievous sibling struggle to come to terms with his love-struck sister and what this would mean for their tormenting relationship, you witness the man who simply loves to love Uncle Fester (Sam Clements) and the man of few words Lurch (Marcus Wesley) the loyal family butler who entertains alongside Grandma (Claire Bentley) who is crazy and potentially not even family!

Each character of the Addams Family is iconic, and we have come to expect familiarities to the role from previous interpretations through theatre and movies, it is no easy task to take on these legendary personalities. The romantic and eccentric role of the macabre Hispanic father and husband Gomez was portrayed by Harry Jones who stated during the rehearsal process that he connected with Gomez on a level he did not expect because of his charm or that he is as daft as a brush. Jones was outstanding in his delivery, I believe this role was made for him as he gave the best performance that I have seen as Gomez with his perfect timing, charisma, charm and stunning vocals. His high energy and characteristics of this iconic role was nothing more than miraculous and he had the audience eating out of his hands with his incredible comedic timing – I don’t think I have belly laughed so much in a theatre like that in years.

Matched as his wife Morticia was the wonderfully talented Laura Beech, to portray the qualities of the family matriarch who is elegant, poised, well-mannered, seductive but an overprotective parent is demanding as it requires a balance of just enough sultry to graciousness. Beech delivered her role to perfection for which I applaud her for and her Tango in ‘Tango de Amor’ was sensational.

Becky Brady and Kieran Picken are off stage partners, cast as the love-struck teenagers Wednesday and Lucas was perfect as their on-stage chemistry was palpable and concrete. Wednesday’s songs are notorious to those like me who love The Addams family so there is a huge expectation for pitch perfect tones during ‘Pulled’ as this seals the success in this legendary role. Brady’s rendition did not disappoint as she gave a sterling representation of this high-powered and demanding repertoire. Picken’s depiction of Lucas was flawless with his superb acting skills and terrific vocals, his duet of ‘One Normal Night’ and ‘Crazier Than You’ was sublime – colossal applause to both Brady and Picken for their first-class portrayal of Wednesday and Lucas.

Fester played by Sam Clements displayed all the quirkiness required of the character and I was highly entertained by how he made the role his own by adding an extra dimension to the personality of the persona we all love and adore in Wednesday’s uncle. A particular highlight was Clements’s version of ‘The Moon and Me’ which is something I won’t forget in a hurry, huge credit to this accomplished performer for his exemplary staging of Fester.

Mr & Mrs Beinekes played by Michael Shneck and Louise Colohan who are another off stage pairing did a sterling job in their interpretation of the strait-laced parents. Singularly noteworthy was Colohan’s recital of ‘Waiting’ as this is a taxing song which demands a serious amount of control and power to deliver the vocal range required, as this song can easily become a train crash or a monumental accomplishment if dispatched accurately. Colohan’s delivery was unquestionably the best I have ever seen in any professional or amateur setting, her interpretation went beyond anything I have witnessed before in musical theatre. Colohan shown a side to the character Alice that I had not experienced before, her presentation of ‘Waiting’ was unbelievably controlled, highly emotional, extremely comical and damn right fun all wrapped up in a perfect package.

Claire Bentley, Sophie Williams and Marcus Wesley, all provided stunning performances as their characters for which I applaud them for contributing to a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show.

The show is packed with catchy songs, high energy, great comedy entertainment, spectacular choreography, amazing costumes and the most awesome use of video walls to create the best scenery and staging you will see in musical theatre. The video walls allowed the most seamless scene transitions with the greatest impact.

Huge credit to ‘The Team’ and the live band led by musical director Marilyn Blank for creating a stunning show, well done to all involved including the incredible Ancestors who provided the most exquisite display of dance and movement choreographed by Rowe with remarkable harmonies.

Well done to Director Paul Downham for creating the best Addams Family production I have ever watched, keep doing what you do best as you have the Midas touch as this is definitely a blockbuster!

If you are lucky enough to get tickets, you are in for a real treat….

Reviewer: Katie Leicester

Reviewed: 23rd April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.