The Prickle (@ThePrickle) May 17, 2017
America’s creepiest, dreariest family does not seem obvious material for a musical (which was critically panned when it opened on Broadway in 2010). However, maybe it’s found its true home here, because this UK premiere production is a spectacular smash, looking and sounding like a West End show, with roars of laughter to boot.
Lippa’s Tony-nominated score is the absolute highlight, brought to life by a sensational cast and a tiny eight-piece band that sounds like a full blown orchestra. YouTube and theatre celebrity Carrie Hope Fletcher imbues twisted teenage goth Wednesday with an unhinged sexuality and absolutely knockout pop vocals. Charlotte Page brings her powerful, lyrical voice to Alice, a repressed Ohio mother, in a sensational Act 1 finale. Stars Les Dennis and Samantha Womack also bring charisma and charm.
It’s really less of a musical and more a collection of songs, with hilarious, knockout numbers loosely hanging on a paper-thin plot about a “normal” family visiting the Addams so the two star-crossed lovers, Wednesday and Lucas, can announce their engagement. Who cares? This is a show where Morticia Addams will burst into a showtune pastiche, singing “Death is just around the corner”, ably backed by an opulently costumed kickline of ghosts, for no apparent reason, and salsa music will be topped with a soaring theramin.
Perhaps due to densely detailed sets, choreography and direction, the show currently lacks pace in the dialogue scenes; the silly and repetitive book requires breakneck speed, not the laboured attention some lines receive. But as the screaming ovation from the audience attests, The Addams Family still offers a non-stop nostalgic and lavish delight. Looks like black is the new black.