Review: The Addams Family, the Broadway Musical

The Addams Family Photo: Jeff Busby

Fans of The Addams Family 1960s cult TV series will love the musical now at the Capitol Theatre until April 28. Younger fans are more likely to remember the 1990s films starring Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia but whatever your history with this kooky family you will remember the finger clicking and the great TV theme “they’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky”.

The Addams Family Broadway musical appeals to this familiarity right from the get-go: it opens with the familiar theme and clicking of fingers, as a hand peeks from behind the curtain, regrettably the only appearance of Thing.

Uncle Fester cavorts with the Moon Photo: Jeff Busby

This show is lively, colourful and entertaining. It has many things going for it: catchy numbers, a gorgeous set, fabulous costumes, a very competent cast and some spectacular visual gags.

What is doesn’t have is a strong story with any depth, but it doesn’t need it.

A very simple plot from the writers of Jersey Boys, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, is used as the vehicle for the much-loved quirky characters based on the creation of American cartoonist Charles Addams: the amorous and elegant Gomez Addams, his gorgeously slinky wife Morticia, kooky ‘lightbulb’ Uncle Fester, cheeky Pugsley who just wants to be tortured, and even Cousin Itt who pops in at the end to make it a double wedding (he weds the curtain tassel that provides the first visual gag in the opening minutes).

Wednesday (Teagan Wouters) has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke (Tim Maddren) a ‘normal’ boy from a ‘normal’ family. And now the two families must meet.

Gomez and Morticia make up Photo: Jeff Busby

Cue in “Guess who’s coming to dinner” and a clash of two worlds. Cue in also the basis for conflict between ever-loving couple Gomez and Morticia after Wednesday confides in her father that she wants to marry this boy but asks him not to tell mother.

The cast does a great job under the direction of Jerry Zaks, anchored strongly by very solid performances from both John Waters as Gomez and Chloe Dallimore as Morticia. Waters makes the role of Gomez his own while paying respect to both John Astin from the TV series and the more Hispanic Raul Julia from the 1990s films. Dallimore’s Morticia is suitably slinky and matriarchal. Their make-up number “Tango de Amour” is a delight.

But the standout performance is Katrina Retallick as Alice Beineke – dressed in bright canary yellow she steals many of the scenes, especially with her fabulous number “Waiting”.

Also strong is Russell Dykstra as Uncle Fester: he provides one of the highlights of the show with his number “The Moon and Me”.

Wouters delivers a very contemporary Wednesday, Ben Hudson’s Frankenstein-like butler Lurch provides a delightful moment when he breaks into song, and Meredith O’Reilly’s grandma is weird and whacky.

The Addams ancestral ensemble Photo: Jeff Busby

I loved the ghostly ensemble of Addams family ancestors who slink around the house and Central Park as silvery shadows, working with Uncle Fester to help the young lovers.

Andrew Lippa’s songs, played live by an orchestra conducted by Luke Hunter, include such great numbers as “Full Disclosure”, “Trapped” and “Just around the corner”.

The Addams Family is a fun show the whole family can enjoy.Catch it at the Capitol Theatre, Haymarket Sydney, until April 28. Tickets: $49-$149. Bookings: 1300 723 038 or visit the website.

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