The Addams Family

Talented Young Performers in a “Ghastly” Show

Da-da-da-dum-snap-snap!  Da-da-da-dum-snap-snap!

As soon as you hear that familiar Addams Family theme song, you know it’s going to be an evening of fun.  This is truly a musical for all ages – young people will remember the 1991 movie, which made the rounds on VHS and DVD so anyone under 35 knows it well.  Those of us who grew up in the sixties are very familiar with the TV show.  And the older folks may remember the original comics which were popular in the forties and fifties.

Addams

The Addams Family is the opposite of normal.  They love dark cloudy days and live in a haunted house with a dungeon.  They never smile unless they are being tortured and take delight in all things macabre.  They throw away the beautiful roses and make a bouquet out of stems. The more morbid, the better.  So seeing them sing in a musical seems out of character for this melancholic lot, but nevertheless, constitutes a good time.

The family includes the mother, the dark Morticia (Emma Heidenheim) and father, Gomez (Henry Firmston), daughter Wednesday (Alexandra Grant) and son Pugsley (Will Frassinelli).  Also living with them are Grandma (Riley Hannon), Uncle Fester (Ben Kopp) and Lurch, the morose butler (Shea De Vries-Thomas).  In this version, the usually sullen Wednesday is a college student and she falls in love with Lucas Beineke (John Fellner), whose parents, Mal Beineke (Fynn Cuthbert) and Alice Beineke (Laura Martineau), come to meet the Addams.

This is the Grand Theatre High School Project’s annual musical, where students audition for roles and an opportunity to work with theatre professionals.  All the students in the lead roles are excellent: they act the absurd parts very well and create laughs while singing in good form.  This year’s project probably has one of the better casts we’ve seen in recent years.  They are backed by a well-skilled ensemble of 23 and 13 equally talented dancers, as well as a crew of 18 – all high school students.

While the script is sprinkled with clever one-liners:  “I am impulsive, I just need to think about it first” or “You wanna act like a tool?  Go sleep in the shed”, it seems to slow down in places and is very predictable.  Nor are the songs memorable.  However, any weaknesses in the script can be overlooked, thanks to the talent of these young people.

And finally, kudos to the hand, Thing, that introduced the opening of the show and also brought us back to Act II.  We also enjoyed the cameo appearance of the very hairy Cousin It.

The Addams Family continues at the Grand Theatre, London until September 27.  Tickets are available at the Grand box office at 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or visit www.grandtheatre.com.

Photo: The Addams Family includes Lurch (Shea de Vries-Thomas), Uncle Fester (Ben Kopp), Wednesday (Alexandra Grant), Morticia (Emma Heidenheim), Gomez (Henry Firmston), Pugsley (Will Frassinelli), and Grandma (Riley Hannon).

The Addams Family
Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Directed by Susan Ferley
Musical Direction by Floydd Ricketts
Choreographed by Megan Alfano
Performed by High School Students of London & Area
Grand Theatre, London
September 16 to 27, 2014
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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