The Addams Family

★★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 09 August 2014

The Addams Family have been around for a long time, first appearing as single panel cartoons in The New Yorker in 1938, but British audiences will probably know them best from the 1991 film starring Angelica Huston and Raúl Juliá. Now this satirical take on the ideal American family has been adapted for the stage, with Gomez and Morticia, Wednesday and Pugsley, Uncle Fester and Lurch coming together to face a terrifying challenge: Wednesday has fallen in love...with a boy from Ohio.

This production marks 10 years of musical theatre from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at the Fringe and the school has done itself proud. It’s risky business doing a show with a running time of nearly two-and-a-half hours up here but director Ken Alexander and choreographer Chris Stuart-Wilson make the time fly by with their witty, dynamic take on these deliciously macabre characters.

Composer Andrew Lippa’s hilarious lyrics—peppered with barbed references to contemporary American politics—are crystal clear in the mouths of this talented company of musical theatre MA students and there’s barely a bum note or clumsy move in the show.

Not all the songs need to be there: Fester's ode to the moon, though charmingly performed by Andrew Perry and the ancestors' chorus, is a distraction from the central plot line and creates one of the few lulls in this pacey piece. And the book, by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, doesn’t exactly stretch the conventions of musical theatre writing. But The Addams Family is enormous fun and will leave you smiling.