Review: The Addams Family – Amy King

The Addams Family
Paradise in Augustines
Star rating: ****
Reviewer: Amy King

Everyone knows the theme tune. It’s finger-clicking good (sorry…) and its nostalgia-inducing quality sets us up for a show that continues to excite and entertain. The Addams Family burst onto the stage, breathing life into the living relatives and ancestors in various stages of death and decay. Led by the commanding, suave Gomez (portrayed effortlessly by Michael Davies), we’re pulled into the dynamics of a family like no other. With first loves, weird uncles, uptight in-laws and a granny with a penchant for innuendos at the dinner table, this tight ensemble know how to work the comedy of a brilliantly witty script.

Family values offer up many interesting feminist issues including stereotypical gender roles, identity and patriarchal dominance. The Addams Family is quick to flip these issues on their head; Morticia provides the home with a clear matriarchal head of the family, with Jo Heinemeier quick to set her up as a cool, but most certainly flappable, leader. Genderbending is introduced to the show too, with Nicola Dryburgh playing an adorably huffy and twisted young Pugsley. Then there’s Uncle Fester, whose sexual orientation is “clearly ambiguous” – his love interest is unconventional to say the least. Morticia and Alice even explore the struggles of marriage when the honeymoon phase is over. This is a show which maintains the characters we know and love, adding more depth to our role models and giving us even more laughs than its namesake’s TV series and films which came before.

The star of the show is Uncle Fester (Andrew Chernouski) whose comic timing and fourth-wall breaking showcases his sharp wit and impressive vocals. He owns the stage and holds the audience in the palm of his hand through every line and note. Another notable performance comes from Julia Weingaertner who breezes in with a sunny disposition and a dress to match as Alice Beineke – the mother of Wednesday’s love interest, Lucas – but who quickly reveals layers of frustration and guilt through her rhyming couplets. Her onstage transformation during Full Disclosure is hilarious and gives us a glimpse of just how talented an actress Weingaertner is as she sheds her mousy front for something far raunchier and even more entertaining.

The music is what cinched this production for me – the full cast harmonies are spine-tingling. A special mention also has to be made for Rebecca Drever, who wows in her solos with an incredible belt that is both musically powerful and full of emotion, capturing Wednesday’s tumultuous feelings as she tries to get to grips with growing up.

This is a tale of growing up, love and the impact of family values; peppered with tenderness and endearing moments between father and daughter, young lovers’ teenage angst and matriarchs reclaiming their identities past the labels Mother and Wife. And after all that, there’s still plenty room for side-plots, drama and comedic moments galore. Sounds like a regular family dinner to me (minus the back-from-the-dead dancing ancestors). The Addams Family makes for a very enjoyable 2 hours, catch it while you can!

The Addams Family
Tickets available here
Paradise in Augustines
2 – 10 August
7pm (2 hours)

 

 

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