The Addams Family originated as a series of single frame cartoons by Charles Addams in The New Yorker in 1938 and they were intended as a satire on the typical "American Family" . My original memories of the Addams Family are from the 1960s televison show starring Carolyn Jones as Morticia and John Astin as Gomez (remembered from television repeats of course!). Most people however will probably have an image of the Addams Family from the two Hollywood films starring Angelica Houston as Morticia and Raul Julia as Gomez.
All parts this time round are played by students from The MGA Academy in Edinburgh
This show is sadly only on for two nights (tonight and tomorrow), so by the time you read this review you may have missed the show at the King's Theatre, but if it comes back, go and see it. There are two different casts for the show for different performances, and tonight's performers were:
Gomez Addams (George Fanzio), Morticia Addams (Abigail Stenhouse), Uncle Fester (Peter Vint), Grandma (Amy-Beth Littlejohn), Wednesday Addams (Rebecca GilhoolEy), Pugsley Addams (A McColl), Lurch (Kieran Wynne), Mal Beineke (Alex Booth), Alice Beineke (Rhona Hay), Lucas Beineke (Thomas Doherty), Thing (David Atkinson), Cousin Itt (Jack Nixon & Nicole McNaughton).
In this production, Wednesday has found a "normal" boyfriend called Lucas Beineke, and is secretly engaged to him. Wednesday confides in her father (Gomez) this fact and swears him to secrecy until she announces the engagement to everyone at a "normal" dinner party that she has invited Lucas and his parents to at the Addams Family home.
Things of course do not go to plan as the "normal" family (especially the father Mal) meet The Addams Family. Along the way the course of true love gets a bit bumpy and the Beineke family get a little more than they planned for out of the evening. In the end of course true love triumphs for everyone involved including Morticia and Gomez and Mal and Alice.
George Fanzio and Abigail Stenhouse do a very fine job with Gomez and Morticia despite the fact that both these characters are meant to be far older than the actors are, and both do the part and the songs justice. The parts of Gomez and Morticia really need someone around the age they both are in the show to portray a certain "lived the life of experience" and it would be great to see either of them return to these parts if they get the chance in what will hopefully be long professional careers.
Rebecca Gilhooley is on very good vocal form for her role as Wednesday Addams and has a stong vocal presence on stage despite having some challenging vocals to perform. We will I hope see a lot more of Rebecca as her career develops.
My own personal favourite for the evening however was Peter Vint as Uncle Fester. Somehow Peter just seemed to be one of those people that always drew your attention on stage wherever he was.
The show itself started before the curtain went up, as members of the cast in full costume playing the parts of the dead ancestors (Marilyn and Elvis were there) moved amongst the audience, sat in the balconies (where they remained all night and inter-acted with the stage cast) and had their own inter-active show too.
Although it may be unfair to compare one show to another, this inter-action with the audience and some other parts of the show (particularly Lucas' parents) reminded me a lot of "The Rocky Horror Show", and that is great as I love that show.
This was a great evening at the theatre and provided more fun and enjoyment than full professional shows often manage to achieve. What this show really needs is a producer to back it and take the whole cast on tour as this show has great potential to become an audience participation favourite.
As I said at the beginning of this review, the cast are all from the MGA Academy. For more details on MGA go to www.themgaacademy.com
Review by Tom King