[Review] The Addams Family at the Birmingham Hippodrome

The Addams family are back, and their hosting another dinner party – this time it’s for the family of Wednesday’s new boyfriend, the Beineke’s. But can they have ‘One Normal Night’ all in the aid of love?

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, and they’re the most perfectly cast ensemble you’ll see in a musical this year.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, and they’re the most perfectly cast ensemble you’ll see in a musical this year. Matthew White’s The Addams Family has an unwavering dedication to detail and characterisation; from Lurch’s lingering footsteps to Grandma’s battiness, there’s not a single family member you’d like to bump off.

Gomez (Cameron Blakely) plays the hopeless romantic hilariously, with energetic outbursts of movement and frequent moments in the spotlight, quite literally. While Morticia’s (Samantha Womack) seductive sauntering, ominous stare, and serious hair-flicking makes her the one the audience are longing to come out of the shadows and retake centre stage.

Uncle Fester’s (Les Dennis) love affair with the moon goes off like a rocket, while Wednesday’s (Carrie Hope Fletcher) vocal performances are also out of this world. Her rendition of ‘Pulled’, in which she tells us of her conflicting emotional state all while Pugsley is being yanked on an ancient stretching machine behind her, is one of the best scenes in the performance and is evident of the perfect balance between song and story throughout.

The writing is brilliant – it’s funny, no seriously, very funny, and not in a cheesy musical way (in case you were worried). There’s gothic twists on anecdotes, abnormal longing for pain and melancholy, and the relentless rhyme of Alice Beineke (Charlotte Page), which is both sickly sweet and genius. The songs have a way of making you think you know the words, despite the fact you haven’t heard them before. There’s no doubt that half the audience will be waiting for a downloadable soundtrack to join the likes of Grease and Wicked on their portable devices.

Diego Pitarch’s set design is certainly something to gawp at. It is gloriously gothic, with rickety windows, a spiral staircase, and a twilight backdrop, and at times you’ll be certain it’s alive. With a bed that walks itself into the wings and an ensemble cast of ghouls who litter the stage as silent presences, the audience are never quite alone even when no one’s in the room.

It’s a wonderfully witty and deliciously dark extension of the characters we have all grown to love,

Death is ‘Just Around the Corner’ as Morticia sings, but that’s not the only reason to go and see this production as soon as you can. It’s a wonderfully witty and deliciously dark extension of the characters we have all grown to love, which encourages its spectators to ‘Move Towards the Darkness’ a little, and trust in love, both romantic and familial.

The Addams Family is on at the Hippodrome from Tuesday 6th June – Saturday 10th June, before moving on to other venues. It will be coming back to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in October 2017.

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