Mellows – The Addams Family -review

 

Picture credit: Phillip Ingham

 

 

Yesterday was Tuesday, but it was Wednesday’s night at Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre.

Charlotte Farthing shone in an outstanding cast as The Mellow Dramatics brought The Addams Family to ‘life’.

The Addams Family is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Ellice.

Brilliantly led by Edward Moore, as patriarch Gomez, and Donna Stephenson, as matriarch Morticia, the whole of the Addams family – living, dead and undecided – entertained the Brewhouse audience with witty one-liners, intricate lyrics and, courtesy of director/choreographer Natasha Ingham, slick dancing.

I struggle to recall when I have seen better casting in all the major roles. Each and every one of the principals looked the part.

Although the show is based on Charles Addams cartoon strips rather than the TV or film characters, they all looked as if they had stepped straight off the big screen.

The plot concerns the secret engagement of Wednesday to Lucas Beineke, played by Owen Wardle, who, whisper it, comes from a ‘normal family from Ohio’.

Wednesday confides in her father and also reveals that she has invited the Beineke family to dinner so she and Lucas can announce their engagement to both sets of parents. This leads to a dilemma for Gomez which is only sorted out during one fateful, but hilarious dinner party after which none of the protaganists will ever be the same.

The remaining, living Addams family, consisting of son Pugsley, played by Joe Wardle, Grandma Addams, played by an unrecognisable Natalie Veasey, Uncle Fester, played by Rhys Jones, who sets the scene and is instrumental in recruiting the deceased Addamses to Wednesday’s cause, are excellent and each has a little cameo in which to shine.

The ghostly ancestors form the chorus and dancers. I don’t know how much work they put into the routines  but they really did look like a dance troupe rather than cast members who were having to dance.

Lucas’ ‘normal’ family were both great. A strong performance by Tom Brassington as dad Mal and a joyful Lucy Robinson as mom, Alice, who was all sweetness and rhyming light until the dinner party.

Finally, and very slowly, we come to the Addams Family manservant Lurch, superbly played by Chris Towland who had few lines, then mainly noises, but who conveyed so much with an eyebrow – or a feather duster.

The production team of Rob Murray, musical director, Nicola Wagstaff, Becky Stewart, assistant director and the aforementioned director/choreographer, along with all those behind the scenes have done very well in converting this show for the Brewhouse stage.

As the old theme song says: ‘They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re altogether ooky, The Addams Family.

They’re also on at the Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre all this week. Shows start at 7.30pm every evening with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are available from the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.

Bill Pritchard.

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