Theatre Review: The Addams Family

We are really fortunate in Adelaide to have such a wealth of talent to both perform and stage some great work.

Presented by: The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Company of SA Inc.
Reviewed: 3 May, 2024

The ecstatic reception the cast received at the end of the opening night performance of The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy (which incidentally opened on Broadway in 2010) shows how a really well written musical comedy can last for a long time. The performance was energetic, engaging and a showcase for some established and new Adelaide community theatre performers. 

Ben Todd’s Gomez led the company in an opening night showstopper that set the tone and energy for a very solid evening of entertainment. He stated in the programme that it was a character that was on his bucket list – well I hope there’s room in the bucket for a few more characters in Mr Todd’s repertoire; it was gold-standard work with some truly magical moments of comedy and song. You can’t get to play a role like that unless you have someone of equal stature to act as a foil for your work, and Salina Britz’ Morticia was a gem of musical theatre brilliance. Todd’s and Britz’ chemistry is the solid driver the show needs; they shine in their moments together and individually throughout the evening. Their duets and individual numbers are magical.

The family are truly awful! I mean that in a good way, Uncle Fester (John McKay) doesn’t miss a trick, and would grace any stage as a stand up comic. Though everything he does adds to the tapestry of the show. Grandma (Elizabeth Slee) is a gift for the more mature actress and Slee doesn’t miss a moment. Pugsley (Elijah Proctor on opening night; he alternates the role with Phoebe Clark) was just the right amount of spoiled brat to be loveable and there is the promise of great things to come as he grows into his paws. Lurch (Jason Clark) had the art of deadpan considered to perfection and has one of the fun reveals of the night – no, you have to go see it. Vanessa Crouch’s Wednesday was a performance full of all the things that make parents wince. Crouch shows great promise as an actor, singer and dancer. Her character was convincing, her acting excellent and vocally she hit notes that were loud, clear and true. That girl can belt. 

Wednesday’s obsession in the form of Lucas Beineke (played by Tom Sheldon) hit just the right note of clean-cut teenage boy until Wednesday turns that personality trait inside out. His parents Alice Bieneke (Kristel Dally) and Mal Bieneke (Andrew Mair) were more middle class American than the Americans. Some great work from Kristel and a lovely satisfying result to her spectacular revelations at the end of Act 1. 

The ancestors were a motley bunch of very well-dressed dead people – the costumes were fantastic. This is a show that allows the ensemble to shine – and shine they did. They did Jacinta Vistoli’s choreography proud with some very impressive dance moves. Carolyn Adams’ astute direction means they have a lot to do and all of it works to move the musical along at a ripper pace, and once those first night nerves have settled, their vocals will be a little less scratchy.

Back to Carolyn Adams for a moment. This show has such heart and such a commitment from the cast to move the story along that can only come from a good production team under the leadership of a careful and gifted director. Fine work to get this big cast to such a high standard.

Jane Feast’s music was well-paced and constantly supported the cast with carefully judged volume and tempo from the pit. It’s an able and talented bunch of musos in the pit. Costumes are a triumph, thanks to Carmel Vistoli and her team of dressmakers; these costumes could grace any stage. They are all stand-out, as were the wigs and the millinery.  Lighting (Jamie Lee Rayner) and sound (Allpro Audio – Tim Freedman) were of the usual high standard, though perhaps whoever is in charge of radio mikes might need to brush up a few cues, but that’s me being super picky!

This is another great night out on the community theatre circuit. We are really fortunate in Adelaide to have such a wealth of talent to both perform and stage some great work. It’s well worth a trip to the Arts Theatre to see this one.

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: The Arts Theatre, 52 Angas St, Adelaide
Season:  Until 18 May, 2024
Duration:  2 hours and 20 minutes approx (including interval)
Tickets:  $28 – $40

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