THEATRE REVIEW: The Addams Family at Sheffield Lyceum

By Dave Doyle | 18/09/2017

THEATRE REVIEW: The Addams Family at Sheffield Lyceum
Cameron Blakely and Samantha Womack in The Addams Family

THEY’RE creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky — and now they sing and dance!

The Addams Family have graced our screens large and small since 1973, after making their debut as a 1938 comic strip.

Now New York’s weirdest neighbours have taken to the stage in a cute musical comedy.

Rewinding to a simpler time — before Cousin Itt or baby Pubert — its plot sees the nuclear family nearly blow up after Wednesday (Carrie Hope Fletcher) brings a boy home.

Swapping black dresses for sunshine yellow and bird-shooting for singing, she tries to keep the secret of her engagement from mum Morticia (Samantha Womack).

But she confides in dad Gomez (Cameron Blakely), whose divided loyalty to both wife and daughter threatens to tear the family apart.

When teen heartthrob Lucas (Oliver Ormson) and his parents Mal (Dale Rapley) and Alice (Charlotte Page) come for dinner, all must be on their best behaviour — and inevitably aren’t.

Meanwhile, Uncle Fester (Scott Paige) keeps some ghosts from their graves to help hold things together because, well, because a musical needs an ensemble.

The ghouls are clearly poltergeists, whisking the beautiful sets in and out on wheels and cables.

The acting is West End-worthy, especially from devious Grandma (Valda Aviks).

Musical talent is also top-notch, demonstrated most notably by opera veteran Page.

The choreography impresses too, as the Addams’ late ancestors whirl menacingly around the stage.

An obligatory tango scene between Morticia and Gomez is especially delightful and well-rehearsed.

And the script is rich in comedy. Witty one-liners and double-entrendres abound, especially in Latin lothario Gomez’s lines.

Nonetheless, it’s a very family friendly show, with shades of “Glee does the Addams Family”.

In fact, I wanted to joke about how “bloody good” the macabre musical was, but there is no gore — except for one skewered rabbit and two dead birds.

My only concern was with some of the characterisation, particularly Morticia and Wednesday.

On screen, the matriarch cut a stern figure, but her love for her family was always apparent.

On stage she is grumpy, verging on sulky — almost reluctant to show any affection.

Her threats to leave Gomez for telling one little lie didn’t quite sit right with someone who has watched the movies many times (my wife, Krissy).

In fact, the Addams megafan has a tip for producers putting on the family’s next stage season.

“Pugsley should have brought home the nice, normal boy and Wednesday should have tried to break them up,” she said.

“That would be more in keeping with their characters — Wednesday is the malicious, scheming one.”

So there you have it, producers — take a tip from a Morticia wannabe and please come back next year.

The Addams Family ran at the Lyceum until Saturday, September 16. See the tour website for details of other tour venues and dates.

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