Friday May 19, 2017, Wimbledon, New Theatre
Cast: Samantha Womack, Cameron Blakely, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Les Dennis
I was very curious as to what this musical would be. After its debut on Broadway in 2010 it’s enjoyed fair success around the world, and now the kooky family created by writer and cartoonist Charles Addams has come to London (well, sort of). It’s on its U.K. premiere tour and played the Wimbledon Theater last week – its closest central London venue. I was only a tad familiar with the show via online clips, etc. but luckily it did not disappoint.
The show focuses on Wednesday Addams at the start of her teen years. She has a boyfriend, Lucas Bieneke, and a problem – they want to get married but Morticia does not approve. In the show the two families meet and ultimately discover that they are just as dysfunctional as each other, but in the end love prevails. It has all of the perfect ingredients of a successful musical comedy: character development, witty dialogue, show-stopping musical numbers and of course, that joyous ending. Everything we know and love about Addams’ material is in full force, complemented by wondrous set pieces and fitting costumes.
The cast is perfect. The stand-out for me was Cameron Blakely as Gomez. His portrayal was truthful, touching and he has comic timing in buckets. Sam Womack is also well cast as Morticia – her second act solo (with equal assistance from the ever-strong ensemble) brought the house down, as did her and Blakely’s big dance sequence – and great moment of chemistry and show-man (and woman) ship from the pair. Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Wednesday is faultless: killer vocals and stage presence to boot, it makes sense she received the biggest applause of the night. Another stand-out is Grant McIntyre as Pugsley – his voice is killer (no pun intended) and Dickon Gough as Lurch who remains mostly mute until the final scene, and just you wait for that, because the voice that comes out, is astounding.
The ensemble were fewer in number than some bigger shows, but that didn’t stop them from stealing every moment they appeared in. Special mention to Jessica Buckby who had the task of wearing a bald cap and pretending to be the moon and doing it so beautifully with charm and grace. And each of ensemble had a purpose, as explained by the awesome Les Dennis as our character-narrator Uncle Fester, the ‘ancestors’ are brought back at the start
of the show to help the characters find the lacking love that makes them human and then they are sent back to the afterlife once at the shows conclusion, the happy ending is reached – I thought that was a great touch!
Andrew Lippa’s score is also great! I only knew “Pulled” very well before going in, but each song is either brilliantly catchy (still humming the great first act finale “Full Disclosure”) or touchingly written, for example, Gomez’s song ‘”Happy/Sad” in which he laments over his daughter’s adolescence years and the joy that she brings him in becoming a confident young woman – beautiful!
So overall, the ever-stellar source material provides us with a great, fun musical that is presented here by an excellent cast. I was smiling ear to ear and didn’t want it to end – it’s West End ready for sure!
The Addams Family is currently touring the UK until November 4, 2017.
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