Addams Family - NODA Review
The Addams Family – A New Musical staged by Rainhill Musical Theatre Company at Rainhill Village Hall, Dane Court, Rainhill on Friday, 23rd June, 2023.
They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together kooky, The Addams Family! In the upside-down world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy, and death and suffering are the stuff that dreams are made of! Having lived by their unique values for hundreds of years… Gomez and Morticia, the ‘patriarch and matriarch’ of the clan, would be only too happy and willing to continue living that way, that is, until their dark, macabre, beloved daughter ‘Wednesday’, now turning eighteen falls in love with an ‘ordinary person’ … his name ‘Lucas Beineke’, a sweet, smart respectable boy from a normal Ohio family. To make matters worse, Wednesday has invited his entire ‘Beineke Family’ … father, mother and her prospective husband to their home for dinner. During that fateful night, secrets are disclosed, relationships are tested, and the Addams’s must face up to the one thing they’ve managed to avoid for generations: CHANGE!
Production Team… Bryan Dargie (Director/Choreographer), Wayne Oakes (Musical Director), with additional Choreography from Michelle Williams, Claire Jones and Meg Charlton were the ones tasked with bringing this musical comedy to stage and what a job they made of it! When you come to watch a stage production that stems from a well-known, well-loved TV show or film… it’s only natural that you associate the characters with the ones that you’ve grown up with … so casting/ characterisation is vital, but that wasn’t an issue here at Rainhill… the casting was great, the characters believable, recognisable, not identical (that’s never going to happen) so be ever so proud folks, be ever so proud Bryan, great insight, great result! Wayne Oakes led a twelve-piece orchestra, which, if I’m honest, scared me a little when I first saw it! Rainhill Village Hall isn’t the biggest of venues… the overture, with the ever so familiar ‘Addams Family’ tune fronting the performance was powerful and impressive, but my fears were realised and at times I did feel the volume was slightly too loud, but after saying that, it did not affect or detract from my enjoyment! The stage at Rainhill isn’t that big either, so the choreography had to be well thought out and it was! It was simple, but effective and played to the strengths of those involved in each dance… congrats to Bryan, Michelle, Claire and Meg, great job!
The Cast… as most will know, this is where I stick my neck out and start selecting MY ‘Showstopper’ … MY favourite character(s), and for this show, this wasn’t the easiest of decisions! Everyone on that stage brought their ‘A’ game, so selecting favourites has been pretty difficult, but here goes…
‘MY SHOWSTOPPER’ was a real tough call between five, yes five, never before have I had that many… there was Sarah Johnson who played ‘Wednesday’, Luke Montague who played ‘Gomez’, Julie Robinson who played ‘Morticia’, Pip Bradshaw who played ‘Grandma’ but in the end I plumped for Ben Greenall and his portrayal of ‘Uncle Fester’! Ben made this part his own! From first entrance to last, the audience and I just loved him! Totally believable, great stage presence, spot on comic timing… he showed great tenderness for this totally misunderstood family member… his rendition of ‘The Moon and Me’ was a ‘highlight’ for me… be proud Ben, outstanding sir! Sarah’s portrayal of ‘Wednesday’ wasn’t far behind that of Ben… as always, wonderful stage presence, great singing voice, sassy, never out of character, totally believable… worked ever so well with all cast members especially with her father Gomez! Be proud Sarah, great job! Luke and Julie – ‘Gomez and Morticia’, should never be separated! They were the ‘perfect creepy couple’, a couple who never keep secrets from each other… until now! Both worked extremely well together; with wonderful stage presence, creating two totally believable characters… loved the script before and the song ‘Secrets’ sung by Morticia to Alice… well done you two… impressive! Finally, Pip’s portrayal of ‘Grandma Addams’… was totally out-there! Great stage presence, wonderful mannerisms, loved the gait… and the interaction with all the cast was exceptional… be proud Pip… great job! Tyler Lloyd took on the role of ‘Pugsley’ and did
a great job, and Geoff Head made an imposing ‘Lurch’… PS: the wait for his first word and his first sung lines… was worth the wait… be proud Geoff, great job! From the ‘living to the dead’ …The Addams Family Ancestors… Claire Heaton played ‘Evangeline’, Michelle Williams played ‘Scarlett’, Claire Jones played ‘Owenna’, Meg Charlton played ‘Missy’, Annie Topping played ‘Veronica’, Fiona O’Gorman played ‘Lizzy’ and Anita Shaw played ‘Octivia’. Finally, from the dead to the ‘UNDECIDED’ … The Beineke Family, those ordinary folk from Ohio … Cameron Gilbert played ‘Lucas Beineke’ (Dear future husband… I think not), Dawn-Louise Wright played ‘Alice Beineke’ (mum) with great aplomb and Dave Flanagan played ‘Mal Beineke’ (dad). Well done ‘Beineke’s great job all round!
The Orchestra… led by the talented Wayne Oakes (Musical Director), included: Tom Bowes (Keys1), Kieran Gray (Keys2), Lucy Grey (Violin), Jenny McGowan (Cello), Jennifer Downing (Reed1), Emily Farren (Reed2), Liam Asbridge (Trumpet), Chris Geunault (Trombone), Paul Taft (Guitar), Amy Gray (Drums) and Trevor Bartlett (Percussion).
Staging/Set/Tech… what you also get at Rainhill is a fabulous set, built in house and fit for purpose and that’s what we got again! Congrats to Andy Pink (Stage Manager) and his ‘Construction Team’ that included Bryan Dargie, Dave Flanagan, Claire Jones, Julie Robinson, Annie Topping, Cameron Gilbert and Ruth Gibb… be proud folks, no lowering of standards here … well done! Sound… I’ve said this before, Rainhill Village Hall is a ‘test’ for any sound engineer and with a twelve-piece band to contend with along with a myriad of singers… let’s give credit where credits due … KELSEY FULTON past this test with flying colours… I did congratulate him on the night and he deserves all the praise and more… terrific job, be proud Kelsey! Lighting… was simple yet effective throughout… congrats to Ian Kemp and Aber Lighting!
Costumes… were fabulous and enhanced the production… under the watchful eyes of Pip Bradshaw, Ruth Gibb, Julie Robinson, Claire Jones, Annie Topping, Bet Davies and Karen Woods… well done ladies be proud!
Props… were first rate and used extremely well… looked after by Claire Jones and Fiona O’Gorman
‘Full Disclosure’… ‘When You’re an Addams’, ‘One Normal Night’ is always ‘Just Around the Corner’, so ‘Lets Live Before We Die’ and ‘Move Toward the Darkness’ and see ‘Wednesday Growing Up’ because nothings ‘Crazier than You’! Thank you Rainhill for another great production, and if the ‘applause’ at the end was anything to go by… thoroughly enjoyed by all present!
Thanks for inviting my wife and I and thanks to Keith Marsh for once again looking after us throughout, appreciated. ‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall’… looking forward to seeing you all again at panto time!
Stay safe and keep well… ‘Stronger Together’
Jim Briscoe NODA NW District 6 Rep