The kooky and spooky Addams Family raised the dead blowing away the cobwebs and the audience at the Cliffs Pavilion last night. A beautifully staged version of the 2010 broadway musical with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa captures the essence of the 1960s TV show to perfection. Large scale sets, quirky scenery, stunning costumes and an eye for detail for even the smallest of props, culminates in an impressive immersive theatrical experience of Broadway & West End quality.
Wednesday Addams has found love in the guise of Lucas Beineke, an all-American boy. What first seems as a clear contrast between ‘strange’ and ‘normal’ becomes increasingly blurred as we learn more about the characters and the skeletons hidden in their cupboards. The characters are in constant conflict with their multi-threaded relationships and the general world around them.
As Gomez and Morticia Addams, (Cameron Blakely and Samantha Womack) are charmingly engaging. With perfectly tuned comedic timing, spot on characterisation and physical subtleties, this odd couple ooze sex appeal which overspills into the first few rows of the audience during the brilliantly choreographed Tango De Amor – a Spanish style flamenco tango remix. The flamboyant and animated Gomez clearly knows who is the boss in this relationship.
Carrie Hope-Fletcher as Wednesday Addams has her loyal following of teenage fans in the auditorium tonight to show their appreciation. But Carrie doesn’t need her social media presence to command this performance. She is a West End star in her own right. Her impeccable vocals offer contrasting dynamics. They are gentle yet powerful in tone, her diction concise with every word understood. Carrie’s acting is first rate as Wednesday is torn between dark and light. Her solo performance of Pulled is as perfect as I have ever seen it and the reaction from the opening night crowd was fantastic.
The University Centre Colchester Year 2 BA Honours Musical Theatre students performed an intimate array of West End and Broadway showstoppers to an appreciative audience this evening in the Mercury Theatre Studio. So nice to see a selection of modern show-tunes including The Addams Family, Miss Saigon, Jekyll & Hyde, Sideshow, In The Heights, Bring It On and Hamilton.
Year 2 Musical Theatre Students
The four piece band masterfully directed by Simon Warne accompanied the non-amplified voices perfectly ensuring that every vocal was heard for every song. Despite being a small performance space, the cast of 20+ all-female talent made the stage look bigger than it was helped by the effective use of a static lighting rig.
The show opened with a very impressive ensemble number When You’re An Addams. Spot on vocals, great harmonies, brilliant stage movement and wonderful lighting. Immensely enjoyable. The cast seem to be having a fun time.
From this point on, performances were variable. When the performers were given the right songs to match their musical theatre skills and vocal ranges it worked very well. But sometimes, the challenge of some bigger numbers was a step too far, resulting in pitchy vocals and excessive shouting to reach the top notes. These are future musical theatre stars in training and this learning experience will only help them perfect their art and gain the confidence to improve.
But throughout the 90mins musical mix there were some standout performances which are worth a mention.
Three women — an overworked office manager, a jilted wife, and an objectified secretary — conspire to depose their smarmy boss and begin making woman-friendly changes in the workplace. Based on the 1980 hit movie made famous by Dolly Parton this show has had limited runs in the West End and on Broadway.
The Little Theatre Company (LTC) with an impressive history of performing quality productions at the Palace Theatre Southend, totally surpass the word ‘amateur’, with an impressive show leaving you feeling good and thoroughly entertained.