The Addams Family: The New Wimbledon Theatre
Addams Family at Home in Theatre
There's a certain ambience The Addams Family possesses that is instantly recognisable. The four note introduction with the clicking fingers immediately engages the audience into a known rhythm and from there we are greeted by the husband and wife team of Morticia and Gomez, both splendidly cast. Samantha Womack always had a dark pallor to her Eastenders character, but here she imbues the matriarch with the deadest of deadpan humour.
Gomez is a sprightly bundle of Hispanic hostelry, played by Cameron Blakely. The beauty of his one-liners and clever repartee is that it is never forced or anticipated, There is a spontaneity to his stories of Spanish ancestry, as bewitching as the seduction of the more sullen raven-haired other half. His paternal tenderness also shows in a musical piece with Wednesday.
Dark Songs and Deepest Death Prevails
After we get past the introductions - Carrie Hope Fletcher makes a wild child, Gothic Miley Cyrus of a punch as Wednesday, totally overpowering the competent Pugsley, Grant McIntyre, outshone by his big sister on stage - then we are then reliant on a series of set pieces which amuse to the heart's discontent, as Morticia might put it. There are some nice songs in there, Death is Around the Corner, being one particular devilish delight.
Alistair David's choreography is given thrust by a set of "walking dead" ancestors who come to life to seize on the strife of the set, like a ghoulish dance group on Britain's Got Talent. The minor characters, like Grandma and Uncle Fester, played by Les Dennis, get their own set piece moments too, although Dennis's love-in with the moon doesn't work on any level, either romantic or for laughs. His narration between pieces is good though.
The Story Can't Get a Look in the Dark
The narrative, if that's what you can call it, is that a "normal" family come to visit the Addams house on the back of their son, Lucas, falling in love with the dark charms of Wednesday. Strait-laced Mom and Dad meet the dark side with daughter desperately trying to play it straight so as to impress some normal time in order to get on with the Jones's. Only thing is, the normality gets lost as all inhibitions are opened like cascading coffins On Halloween. Or something like that. This section is palatable but predictable, for all its carnage.
The crescendo to the show sees Gomez promising to whisk his wife away to the grottiest hotel in Paris, while Morticia gives Wednesday her blessing to marry Lucas, hoping that her grandchildren "give as much grief to you as you gave to me". There are some nice one-liners in there, but the assured Womack and Blakely cover up a dearth (or death) in the plot line. The second half is always there to tie things up, but there's a lack of drama and damage, when the emphasis is that there is much to lose. Lose your inhibitions, sings the previously silent Lurch. Well, yes, but therein lies the problem. There wasn't enough tension to make the loss or gain that interesting.......