The Addams Family ain’t normal, and the Beinekes come from Ohio. But their kids have fallen in love and they have one night to make first impressions and find common ground.
That’s the basic premise behind The Addams Family, a musical comedy based on the well-loved characters created by American illustrator Charles Addams in the late 1930s, playing at the Bristol Hippodrome this week.
It’s not the most complicated story and it doesn’t do much in the way of provoking thoughts or debate – but it’s a great show, beautifully designed with fabulous sets and sumptuous costumes and jam-packed with good, original songs and witty one-liners.
There’s an audible groan from the auditorium when it’s announced that Les Dennis is indisposed and therefore unable to play the role of Uncle Fester, understudy Scott Paige stepping into his shoes for the night. However, any feelings of disappointment disappear within moments as the orchestra play the overture and the show begins. From the first few notes alone, we know it’s going to be good.
Gomez, played by Cameron Blakely, is torn. He would never normally lie to his wife – theirs is a marriage built on trust – but Wednesday, when confessing her love for Lucas Beineke, puts him in a difficult position.
Morticia, brought to life by Samantha Womack, feels betrayed. Her husband and daughter keeping secrets from her… how very dare they?
Carrie Hope Fletcher is perfectly cast as Wednesday, the arrow-shooting young adult growing up so fast she’s almost Thursday. She’ll quite happily shoot a rabbit at the petting zoo and bring it home for dinner – but finds love confusing and disturbing.
Then there’s Pugsly (Grant McIntyre). He can’t sleep if there aren’t any monsters under the bed, but his biggest fear is that his sister won’t torture him anymore.
Fester is determined that love will conquer all and recruits the family’s motley crew of ancestors to ensure it does.
All Wednesday wants is One Normal Night.
The Addams Family premiered on Broadway just over seven years ago. It has since toured the United States and there have been several productions around the world but, somewhat surprisingly, this is its first UK outing.
It’s a bit different from most musical theatre offerings, not so sugary-sweet as some, and will perhaps appeal to those for whom the genre is not an obvious choice. I’ll be very surprised if there isn’t a West End run after this tour – but you don’t need to go to London, because it’s in Bristol until Saturday, September 23.
For more info and to book tickets, visit www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-addams-family/bristol-hippodrome
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