Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: The Addams Family, New Wimbledon

"Hold your decaying
Hear what we're saying"

Sad to say, what I'm saying is that I was not a fan of The Addams Family at all. After a cracking opening number which promises oh so much, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's book grinds to a juddering halt in a first half which does nothing but interminably set the scene. And Andrew Lippa's score offers little respite as it fails to really nail any definitive sense of identity and ends up really rather forgettable. Things do pick up a tad post-interval but it's too little too late by then.

It all could have been so much better. The Addams Family are an iconic set of characters, previously immortalised on cartoon strip, on television and on film, a legacy which goes some way to explaining the commercial success of the show on Broadway in the face of a scathing critical reception. But classic characters need classic storytelling and here, they're marooned in a schmaltzy neverland which captures nothing of the golden age, nor has anything to say to audiences today.

The story hinges on Carrie Hope Fletcher's Wednesday hooking up with the 'normal' Lucas, played by Oliver Ormson, but there's zero narrative tension in the plot (or credibility - why Wednesday is attracted to him remains a mystery), such as it is, and the focus on Lucas' family is misjudged, distracting from the whole raison d'être of a show called The Addams Family about the Addams Family. But even then, when the spotlight shines on the ooky and the kooky, the results are less spooky than shockingly dull.

Alistair David's choreography provides sporadic visual interest, away from the rather cheap looking design by Diego Pitarch (perhaps inevitable for a touring production but still...). And there are some solid performances here - Fletcher is vocally on form, Samantha Womack's Morticia is archly effective, Cameron Blakely's hard-working Gomez is over-used but good, even Les Dennis finds a niche as occasional visitor Uncle Fester. But there's no teeth to them, nothing to make them stand out in the way I so craved. That that blandness makes this a more family-friendly musical comedy does not escape me, 

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Matt Martin
Booking until 20th May then touring to - 
Canterbury Marlowe 23 May 2017 - 27 May 2017
Southend Cliffs Pavilion 30 May 2017 - 3 June 2017
Birmingham Hippodrome 6 June 2017 - 10 June 2017
Theatre Royal Bath 13 June 2017 - 17 June 2017
Hall for Cornwall, Truro 20 June 2017 - 24 June 2017
Nottingham Theatre Royal 27 June 2017 - 1 July 2017
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford 4 July 2017 - 8 July 2017
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 18 July 2017 - 29 July 2017
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff 1 August 2017 - 12 August 2017
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 15 August 2017 - 26 August 2017
The Lowry, Salford 29 August 2017 - 9 September 2017
Sheffield Lyceum 12 September 2017 - 16 September 2017
Bristol Hippodrome 19 September 2017 - 23 September 2017
New Victoria Theatre, Woking 26 September 2017 - 30 September 2017
Grand Opera House, Belfast 3 October 2017 - 7 October 2017
Glasgow King’s Theatre 10 October 2017 - 14 October 2017
Wolverhampton Grand 17 October 2017 - 21 October 2017
Milton Keynes Theatre 24 October 2017 - 28 October 2017
Orchard Theatre, Dartford 31 October 2017 - 4 November 2017

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