The Addams Family are riding high at the moment, mainly due to the Netflix hit series featuring Wednesday. It’s fitting then that this musical, presented by Headgate Theatre Productions, has Wednesday at the centre of the plot, when she falls in love with a “normal” boy and the two families come together for dinner. It’s a wonderfully Gothic show, with clever, witty lyrics that celebrates alternative lifestyles. As a critic, it’s sometimes tricky to review a show in which all the components are there but, on opening night, just don’t quite come together. The company work their socks off, but the show is hugely technical and there were a few blips. This will run in though and there are some stand out performances.
Chief of this is Matt Jewson’s incredible performance as Gomez Addams. Our host for the show, his ability to move easily from spoken word to singing is extraordinary, and the character is firmly established, reflecting the problems fathers have with teenage daughters. April Rand is a perfect Wednesday, exuding the perfect balance of cute and threat. Alice Wightman is a good Morticia, maybe needing to lean into her sensuality a bit more, and Arthur Allen is a great, cheeky Pugsley. Barbara Ryan is a hilarious Grandma, with Graham Bowden steals the show as Uncle Fester, nailing the character and singing beautifully. The Beineke family are brought to glorious life by Dale MacPherson, Jenson Bacon and Emma Theedom, with Alfie Hester an eye catching Lurch! They are supported by a chorus of ghosts that sing perfectly throughout.
Director Shannon Hannah also choreographs, and perhaps an extra pair of eyes could have pushed the dancing forward a little, it feels a bit safe. There is the occasional bum note, and gaps in the action, but the Addams Family has always been about celebrating Otherness and embracing your inner freak, and this production, aided by excellent make up and design captures the style and message perfectly.