New Wimbledon Theatre, London – until 20 May 2017
Having recently started out in Edinburgh, The Addams Family finally makes its London premiere. Starting life on Broadway in 2010 the show failed to make an immediate transfer across the pond, but having toured internationally, gloriously ghoulish musical has at last been given a British life and judging by the reaction of tonight’s audience, its arrival is more than welcome.
From the moment the overtures commences with the iconic clicks from the cartoon/TV series the audiences are not only on side but clicking along. The story, characters and settings are iconic. But with such a cultural resonance of course comes great expectations. Have no fear however, this production doesn’t just meet expectations, it smashes them!
The long road to London has been well worth it for this company, for their comic timing and delivery has been honed to perfection, with the evenings run of constant stone cold gags seeing each wisecrack being delivered with utmost sincerity. Most importantly, Matthew White’s direction has ensured a strong connection to the famously familiar elements of the TV classic, while still allowing creativity from all of his team to blossom. Complete with a mystery arm frequently making an appearance through the letter box, Diego Pitarch’s design in particular sets the classic scene from the offset.
The performances are flawless. Too many to mention them all, but Cameron Blakely’s Gomez is sensational. His presence is a force to be reckoned with and in the opening number When You’re An Addams, which is the first taste we get of Alistair David’s impressive choreography. Blakely not only establishes his character but alongside Samantha Womack’s Morticia, draws the audience into their not so normal family life. Stunt / celebrity casting can often be a critique of many UK Tours but not tonight. Womack’s motherly warmth actually comes with an icy chill. Not only that but the comedic chemistry between these two fantastic actors is more than alive and certainly at no point do either of these two need a kiss of life from their opposite. The gags also flow thick and fast from Les Dennis’ fabulously crazed Uncle Fester.
A strong mother deserves an equally strong on stage daughter and Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Wednesday is a blast. As the hot headed, torturing yet adorable Wednesday, Fletcher is quite simply a raring ball of energy on stage as her romance with Oliver Ormson’s Lucas Beineke develops. Her rendition of Pulled complete with puppet butterflies was top notch, very few acts can deliver such vocal and comical class through song.
To be fair, Fletcher has dreamed of playing Wednesday for years. This website saw her sing Pulled nearly four years ago at Andrew Lippa’s gig at the St James Theatre. Read Jonathan’s review from then – she “took the roof off”.
Amongst the cross bows, gory dead rabbits, cackles and cries is a story about the simple day to life of a family in New York. Albeit not your average family but the monstrous leading performances and hauntingly slick ensemble bring this family tale to life. Supported by Andrew Hilton’s polished band with Lippa’s numbers superbly arranged by Richard Beadle, the show plays at Wimbledon until the end of the week before hitting the road as one of the best productions currently touring the land.
If you know your Addams Family songs – Full Disclosure! To everyone else the show is unmissable.