This production had dual casts in the principal roles. In the interests of fairness, TASA reviewed both casts. Allison Thomas reviewed the Gruesome cast and Alan Shepley reviewed the Grisly cast.
“Love conquers all”, whether kinky or kooky, crazy or cool. NOW productions of “The Addams Family a new musical comedy” expresses that with deadpan jokes, song and dance, in its full black and white glory!
Briefly the story is about Wednesday’s teenage romance and the first meeting of the Addams family with Lucas and Mr and Mrs Beineke. Fun for kids and jokes for adults! It was an excellent show.
Themes of family, love, secrecy and how relationships are tested were cleverly expressed by the whole casts’ actions. The contrast of the black Addams Family and white ancestors visually showed the opposition and resistance to change that each of the main characters faced.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the show, the music was louder than the singers’ voices and we found song lyrics elusive to hear; however, that improved halfway through the first act. Thanks to Robert Young’s musical directions and vocal coaching, voices and accents were superb.
James Hester, as Gomez, was superb as the troubled father, lover and husband, trying to keep the peace and maintain his integrity. In his vocal ability, acting and humour, he was ably mentored by Joe Russell, who had played the character in the past.
In the Thursday show Lilly Marr-McGuire was Morticia, and she remained in character the whole time she was on stage. Her singing and dancing was divine, despite occasional costume difficulties.
Wednesday was sulkily performed by Maisy Jo Russell, whose teenage angst and droll witticisms were convincingly delivered, deadpan.
Expressive Damien Wachla performed the role of Fester with aplomb. He was the narrator, the communicator, a go between and the connection between the living and dead.
Alex Richardson’s role as Lurch was magic! He moved with glacial slowness, grunting in servitude to the Addams Family, then surprising us with his rich deep voice at the end.
Riley Mobbs, as Wednesday’s beloved Lucas Beineke, Cameron Walker as his dad Mal and Lily Cotton as Alice all performed very well. Lily’s dramatic rendition of the song ‘Waiting’ during dinner and ‘The Game’ was excellent.
Pugsley was boisterously played by Alicia Faranda and her electrifying screams bounced off the walls when Wednesday ‘tortured’ her!
All of the main cast had excellent vocal skills and superb acting and stayed in character all the time. I felt that the ensemble at times could have been a little too cheerful for dead ancestors! However, their dancing and chorus were well rehearsed and practiced to give a professional performance.
Mandy Russell and Maisy Joe Russell’s choreography was fun and coordinated. We especially loved it when Death came out to dance with her scythe and mask.
Joe Russell’s set design created the mood right from the beginning – complete with tombstones. weird trees, portraits of the living dead, and a huge moon and stars.
Costumes by Kylie Mobbs and Lynda Cook highlighted the light and dark of the moods of the families with occasional delicious pops of colour.
“One thing I know is true” is that Joe Russell coordinated a group of 36 young people and directed an amazing show which was enjoyed by all who attended on opening night.
Grisly Cast Review by Alan Shepley
This production is a good news story for the residents of the City of Playford and it deserves to be broadcast far and wide. I note that I’m not the first reviewer to express such a sentiment! To the Now Productions team, Director Joe Russell, MD Robert Young, choreographers Mandy Russell and Maisy Jo Russell et al I offer my hearty congratulations.
This ”Addams Family” production employs all the generous expanse of the Shedley Theatre stage as well as the effective use of the stage floor “trap” much to the delight of the audience. Costuming is spot on as are the various lighting and sound effects throughout. The music level was right on the mark and vocal projection, whilst a little shrill at times, was generally delivered at a good audible level. The audience loved every minute of this familiar piece and their reaction at final curtain was as absolute blast!
I saw the “Grisly” cast perform. James Hester as Gomez, head of the Addams clan, delivered a superlative performance. He inhabited his character with professional ease. His vocal range was more than just adequate for the role and he maintained his Spanish ancestral accent throughout. His comedic timing was flawless. His wife Morticia was played in an appropriately dark dead-pan manner by Isabelle Trezise. She was the perfect foil for Gomez, or is it the other way around? Isabelle has a fine rich vocal range and, in particular, her rendition of “Just Around the Corner” was excellent. She invested a great deal of thought and maturity into her performance. It was outstanding.
Teresa van der Hoek was a wonderful Wednesday Addams. She was the ultimate sadistic “softie.” I was also impressed with her singing voice which, like those of the previously mentioned cast members is ideally suited to musical theatre. Her rendition of “Pulled in a new Direction” along with her much tormented brother Pugsley (a delightfully annoying Meri Wagland) was outstanding and drew a great audience reaction. Riley Mobbs as Lucas Beineke, Wednesday’s love interest, demonstrated a maturity in his performance well beyond his years. Like many members of this cast Riley shows great promise for future involvement in theatre.
The Beineke parents, Rohan Eldridge as Mal and Lucy Oster as Alice make for a believable normal couple. Their interactions as a husband and as wife perfectly fitted the scheme of things and they can both take pride in their performances. Damien Wachla proved to be a fetching Fester in his linking role as the lovable narrator of the piece. The audience warmly greeted all of his appearances and his rendition of “the Moon and Me” prompted a well deserved response. Carter Wagland was a suitably wacky Grandma and the reference to her during an exchange between Gomez and Morticia when Gomez says “My Mother? I thought she was your Mother!” brought the house down. Last but certainly not least I must say that Bryce Young was a lovely lugubrious non-verbal Lurch. He of movement tediously slow and deliberate was a big hit with his audience.
“The Addams Family” was an ensemble piece par excellence and every Ancestral ghoul onstage deserves a well earned share in the success of the show. Now Productions succeed wonderfully well in attracting local youth, harvesting a considerable wealth of talent and engaging the northern suburbs community in the worthy enterprise of community theatre. We applaud that.