The Addams Family, New Victoria Theatre, Woking
A little early for Halloween, the spooky stage musical version of the famously morbid cartoon creations of Charles Addams has slipped into town.
Musical comedy is perhaps not a format you might associate with the original outings of this weird and wonderful clan, but this production does triumph – even if it’s only style over substance.
The magnificent, ever-changing set provides a superbly creepy backdrop, recreating the Addams’ semi-derelict Victorian mansion, while the costumes and make-up are simply superb.
The problem lies in the wafer-thin plot and the lack of killer tunes.
The ‘story’ is that arch-goth Wednesday Addams has fallen for an all-American boy Lucas and wants to marry him. Her father Gomez reluctantly agrees to keep this a secret from his wife Morticia until after the two families have met up for a meal…
As any Addams Family fan knows, this highly unlikely scenario undermines what we all love about the sadistic, bitter nature of goth icon Wednesday. The sight of her in a bright yellow dress, simpering towards a wholesome boyfriend is way too unsettling.
As for the many songs, they’re mostly mere narrative, helping the story along without creating too many standout moments. You’d struggle to hum a chorus afterwards and for some inexplicable reason the famous ‘duh-duh-duh-duh’ Addams Family theme is virtually ignored.
That said, there are some great performances here. Samantha Womack is superbly icy as Morticia, delivering vicious put-downs to all and sundry, nailing probably the best song of the evening in Death Is Just Around The Corner and resurrecting some of the great Addams quotes like “Normal is an illusion. What’s normal for the fly is chaos to the spider…”
Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday, Cameron Blakely as Gomez, Scott Page standing is for Les Dennis as Uncle Fester all more than hold their own, while Charlotte Page delivers a great transformation from fowntrodden wife to fearsome vamp as Lucas’ mother Alice.
There are plenty of laughs too, one moment which outshone the many caustic one-liners was when the looming and mostly silent butler Lurch (Dickon Gough) bursts into song near the finale with a glorious bass voice.
The real star, of course, is the idea of the macabre but loveable Addams Family, created by Charles Addams for his New Yorker cartoons in the 1930s and continued through several TV series and films as well as books and even a computer game. In the end, this musical version is a treat for anyone who loves their entertainment kooky and spooky.