THE ADDAMS FAMILY 

OAMARU OPERA HOUSE, OAMARU 2015

Ghoulish good times right up there with the best:

"Amateur theatre doesn't get much better than this. Musical theatre Oamaru's production of The Addams Family had the audience clicking their fingers and tapping their feet to the familiar overture before the curtain rose. They laughed and cheered throughout the performance and then left the theatre singing snatches of the songs. 

The characters and storyline are loosely based on the cartoon strip published in the New Yorker magazine in the 1930s and also on the 1960s TV show. The story follows 24 hours in the macabre life of a family of gothic ghouls; parents Gomez and Mortica, Uncle Fester, Grandma, daughter Wednesday and son Pugsley and their faithful retainer, lurch, the zombie. 

The action opens on the night when they gather in the family graveyard to celebrate life and death in an annual ritual that involves opening the crypt to invite their dead ancestors to join them. But Uncle Fester blocks the ancestors' return to the underworld because something has happened that could threaten family unity. Wednesday, that irresistable bundle of malice, has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a boy from Ohio, and has invited his parents, Mal and Alice, to dinner that night. 

There are songs and dances and extraordinary revelations when Gomez and Mortica insist that the guests join the family in a round of the potentially terrifying game, Complete Disclosure. 

See it for pure entertainment and delight, but for those who need their musicals to carry a message, The Addams Family shows that while the unknown may be frightening, it is only when the sky is truly dark that we can see the stars. 

The production values are up there with the best. It would be hard to better the directing, wardrobe, choreography and dancing, makeup, the simple set of shattered shutters, top-notch lighting and sound. The only shortcoming on the opening night was that the orchestra tended tyo obscure the actors' voices. 

While all the actors played their parts just as they should, particular mention needs to be made of the creepy vulnerability David Blair brings to Uncle Fester, Krissy McGeown's outrageously disinhibited Alice, the almost unrecognisable Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher in the role of Lurch, and Dave Snow as the excrutiatingly debonair Gomez."

 

- Nathalie Brown