This show is a personal favourite of mine, and I am delighted it is now back available for amateur societies to perform.
On entering the Brentwood Theatre, the set for the show is impressive with two levels, a staircase and several doors it represents various area within the storyline. With such a small performing space it was used to great effect.
This production was very well timed with Netflix recently releasing their latest Offering ‘Wednesday’ bringing the much loved Addams Family back into people’s consciousness.
The glue holding this show together were Gomez and Morticia – played respectively by James Wilkins and Sophie Holmes. Both completely understood their characters and stayed within them throughout the performance. They both stood head and shoulders above the rest of the cast and shone in their numbers. Sophie in ‘Secrets’ and James was very moving in ‘Happy, Sad’ one pf my personal favourites in the show.
Playing Wednesday was Tillie Wanless, Tillie has a lovely singing voice and was able to sing ‘Pulled’ with ease. She was well partnered with Charlie Toland as Lucas, who is strong performer in his own right but never over played it to take the attention away from other performers. Playing Pugsley Addams was Sophie Brett. Sophie, I felt was a little soft for Pugsley and I didn’t feel the mischievous troublemaker that Pugsley is known to be. It would also have helped if Sophie's hair wasn’t hanging in front of her face as we might have seen more acting and reactions from her and putting a ‘lit’ cigar in her pocket was a definite no-no!
Alfie Back was Fester Addams, Gomez strange bald brother. Alfie has a lovely singing voice but unfortunately, he was constantly waving his hands about which is very distracting and too many gestures meant that when he did have a point to make it was missed.
Grandma Addams was played by Deborah Anderson. Grandma is quirky and eccentric, and Deborah knows how to get the best out of a role like this with or without the wind! Unfortunately, the role isn’t on stage very much but out of everybody Deborah’s diction was by far the best.
Lurch played by Jack Funnell is a difficult part to play as he says so little and mostly grunts so it’s the character acting that really matters. Firstly, it would have helped if his ears and hands were made up to match his face – very strange to see a grey face with pink ears and hands. I am assuming this was Jack's first time on stage as he couldn’t stop corpsing and laughing when his character clearly shouldn’t have been, which spoilt the action and made the show appear less polished than it would have been. But for a young man this was a good attempt at a much older character.
Lucas's parents Mal and Alice were played by Julian Harbrow and Kate Diaz. These are the 'normals' in this show although we get to see their darker sides and they worked well together.
The disappointment in this show was firstly the chorus singing which lacked the male tenor and bass lines and consequently made it sound unbalanced, plus there were a few pitchy principal vocals, and company members who couldn’t remember the routines and didn’t know the song lyrics - as this was the final performance this let down the rest of the cast who were working hard with some excellent dance routines from Choreographer, Aimee Hart.
However, the biggest disappointment was the issues with sightlines both on the stage floor when principals upstaged each other and with the stairs and upper level. From where we were sitting, we couldn’t see a lot of the action on the stairs and the upper level, characters were often not in light or hidden behind lighting fixtures. A word of advice, this needs to be addressed at the Tech rehearsal to ensure no matter where you are sitting every audience member gets to see the show they paid for.
The band under the batten of Callum Bates was extremely good and didn’t overpower the cast. The sound balance throughout the show was also excellent.
A major part of this show is the costumes, and I loved the idea that the ancestors were all characters out of musicals. They all looked fantastic although the make-up density varied, and some characters black shadowing was a little heavy in places, it added to the overall atmosphere of the show. Congratulations to the costume team.
This show is so well written and full of laughs and if you haven’t seen it before then you won’t stop laughing and tonight’s audience clearly agreed. Springers usually deliver a strong show, and we always look forward to seeing them. If I’m honest this wasn’t their strongest show, but it certainly was a great night’s entertainment and we look forward to their next production of The Little Mermaid in 2023.