Director and choreographer Bryan Dargie takes us into the upside-down world of the Addams Family, where to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy, and death and suffering are the stuff of their dreams.
Patriarch Gomez (Luke Montague) and his wife Morticia (Julie Robinson) are visiting the graveyard for an annual gathering of family members including the dead: Evangeline (Claire Heaton), Scarlet (Michelle Williams), Owenna (Claire Jones), Missy (Meg Charlton), Veronica (Annie Topping), Lizzy (Fiona O’Gorman) and Octivia (Anita Shaw).
But Uncle Fester (Ben Greenall) stops them returning to their graves to enlist their help, as while torturing brother Pugsley (Tyler Lloyd), Wednesday (Sarah Johnson) has admitted to inviting her new ‘normal’ boyfriend Lucas (Cameron Gilbert) to dinner along with his parents, Alice (Dawn-Louise Wright) and Mal (Dave Flanagan).
With sage advice from Grandma (Pip Bradshaw) being ignored and Lurch (Geoff Head) just, well, lurking, we’re about to discover whether the post-dinner game of full disclosure will lead to love and happiness for the young couple, as well as what it may mean for everyone else…
This is a feel-good dark comedy brought all the more to life by Maestro Wayne Oakes and his 12-piece orchestra (Keys: Tom Bowes and Kieran Gray; Violin: Lucy Gray; Cello: Jenny McGowan; Reeds: Jennifer Downing and Emily Farren; Trumpet: Liam Asbridge; Trombone: Chris Geunault; Guitar: Paul Taft; Bass: Kev Bates; Drums: Amy Gray; Percussion: Trevor Bartlett) who provide live musical accompaniment throughout, with the production all the better for it.
The cast perform well and whilst It is natural that the leads (Montague; Robinson; Johnson; Gilbert), who were all in fine voice, take centre stage with strong performances, there has to be a special mention for Montague who orchestrates the proceedings throughout, expressing a confidence and composure with fine voice and superb comic timing for well-written gags that only work with this high level of delivery.
Equally, the success of the production relies upon a polished ensemble with some memorable standout moments: Williams’ choreographed routine to ‘Trapped’ was a delight to behold, showing a skill beyond her superb singing voice; a pugnacious Lloyd broke into song to reveal a beautiful voice; Head mimed memorably before revealing a strong voice at the finale, whilst Charlton and Jones portrayed animated profiles throughout. Topping it off was Greenall whose all-round performance gave us a bit of everything at the highest level which was reflected in rousing and deserved applause.
A fantastic set resplendent with perfect and precise props was overseen by Stage Manager Andy Pink and team and complemented by costumes befitting of each character and wonderful make-up, with a special mention to Johnson who was unrecognisable for all the right reasons.
For me though, the moment the curtains went back to open the evening, I knew I was in safe hands: with his usual exquisite attention to detail reflected in the set design and visual backdrops, and further layered with fantastic routines that embellished well-rounded cast performances, this production has Dargie stamped all over it and clearly demonstrates he is one of the leading directors and choreographers in the North-West.
Rainhill Musical Theatre Company’s next production will be Snow White in January 2024. Further details https://www.rainhillmusicaltheatrecompany.co.uk/
Rainhill Village Hall is within walking distance of Rainhill Station and there is also a free car park. The post code for the hall is L35 4LU.
The Addams Family performs for two further nights on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th June at 7.30pm. Tickets are available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/prescot/rainhill-village-hall/the-addams-family/ or by telephone 07399 031655.
Reviewer: Mark Davoren
Reviewed: 22nd June 2023
North West End UK Rating: