The Addams family pay a visit to the neighbourhood of Stoke-on-Trent this week in all their darkest finery. Based on characters created by Charles Addams and with lyrics and music written by Tony Award nominated Andrew Lippa, it was evident from the opening that this kooky musical comedy was going to be something special.
Directed by Matthew Wight, the story is essentially about ‘Wednesday’ (Kingsley Morton), daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams. She has fallen in love with the seemingly ‘normal’ Lucas Beineke (Ahmed Hamad). Lucas and his family are invited to dinner ‘chez Addams’ and spooky dark fun over a dinner ensues.
Morton’s role of ‘Wednesday’ was outstanding. With vocals entirely suited to musical theatre she commanded the stage and stomped about being the angry daughter of Morticia and Gomez. Hard to ignore, especially in the bright yellow dress she wore for dinner, Morton is certainly one to watch after this production. A versatile actor with an ability to consistently engage and entertain an audience, her performance was faultless.
Joanne Clifton, as of ‘Strictly’ Fame a few years back, but now with many theatre credits to her name, more than proved she is made for the stage in her portrayal of ‘Morticia’. Seductive and with bundles of sass, she ‘glided’ on to the stage effortlessly in each scene, with a dramatic entrance each time. Her Tango with Gomez (Cameron Blakely) did not disappoint – you would expect it to be wonderful given her credentials, but Clifton is generous in her performance in sharing the limelight with him and it is without doubt that it is both Gomez and Morticia as a couple that the audience are watching performing the Tango and not merely Clifton.
‘Gomez’ (Cameron Blakely) was full of kooky charisma on stage. Clearly a hit with the audience, his subtle glances away from stage were quality to watch. His vocals were outstanding and the chemistry between his portrayal of Gomez with Morticia (Joanne Clifton) was spot on, even seeming to make her giggle during one scene which only added to the success of their on-stage relationship.
‘Uncle Fester’ (Matt Slack) was simply hilarious and was one of the standout performances of the night. With many theatre and TV credits to his name it is not surprising he is recognised as one of the country’s leading pantomime comics. His camp, comedic timing and an incredible vocal as ‘Uncle Fester’ was totally captivating to all watching. There was not a scene that he was in that did not provide the audience with giggles.
Whilst it is often the case that ‘less is more’ on stage, a special mention must be given to ‘Lurch’ (Ryan Bennet). With little expression, a painfully slow walk and a grunt to any conversation directed at him, he nevertheless managed to provide many laughs (and gasps) especially when he delivered a shocking surprise of actually singing.
With a live orchestra the musical certainly came to life. Musical director Bob Broad and Assistant Director Catherine Benson must be acknowledged for this. The costumes were superb, and the wardrobe team (Amanda Ozdonmez, Gemma Hughes and Dandy Sanders) must be congratulated.
The Addams Family is as dark as it is witty and delivers high energy throughout. It is a comedy musical to be enjoyed by all ages. Away from all the kookiness however, it is essentially an uplifting story about family and friends. Well deserving of its standing ovation, it is a quality musical comedy that will certainly be around for a long time to come. Humming ‘Death is Just around the Corner’ on leaving the theatre, I believe it is a production that could be watched over and over again.
On until Saturday 2nd April 2022, tickets are available from The Box Office by calling 08448717615 or via https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-addams-family/regent-theatre/
Reviewer: Angela Kelly
Reviewed: 29th March 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★