The Addams Family - The Musical

The Addams Family - The Musical
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Hills Musical Theatre Company. Model Farms High School, Baulkham Hills. Friday 16th November 2018.

The Addams Family is a kooky musical with all its zany characters we’ve grown to know and love through either the 1960’s TV Show starring John Astin or the 1990’s Movies with Raoul Julia as Gomez Addams. The musical is a completely new story, following the plot of now teenage daughter Wednesday, grown up and falling in love/ getting engaged to a plain American boy, Lucas Beineke. Wednesday and Lucas confided in Gomez, but are hesitant to keep it a secret from Morticia as she will only over react and try to cause trouble for the two. The comedy stems from this secret between the two young lovers and the rest of the Addams/Beineke families. There is a dinner for the two families at The Addams Mansion and an after-dinner game of truth, insisted on by Morticia leads to hysterics.

Director Gloria Dodds has filled the stage with many talented actors and expanded her cast to 33 players. Having a large Ensemble, it seemed to help boost volume in large chorus numbers and each had their own individual ancestor role to play, some of which really stood out with great movement and characterisation.

The Addams Family members all played their caricatures spot on, stand outs were Angie Franjesevic as the enthralling Morticia, who built up her annoyance well throughout, at being lied too by both husband and daughter. Her musical number “Just around the corner” was a highlight and her great dancing skills were shown here and in the Tango in act 2 with Gomez. Scott Miller’s Gomez was a softly spoken version, he excelled in the role as the stuck in the middle father/husband with the secret he had to keep. The number “Trapped” amplified this and he was vocally strong throughout the show, the chemistry he had with Franjesevic was clearly evident. The other lead that caught my attention was Stefanie Panecasio as the torn teen Wednesday. Stefanie’s delivery of the dialogue when trying to convince her father to keep her secret was very believable and it was a joy to see her work so brilliantly in the number “Pulled” with Pugsley - Ben Costa -in which they shared a brother/sister love/hate relationship throughout. The chemistry between Stephanie and Jeremy Barons as Lucas was for the most part missing. Of the other family, Lucas’ mother Alice was playfully performed well by Julianne Horne, and her change in character after “The Game” is worth the price of a ticket alone. Alice has  some great rhyming lines and Horne squeezed every bit of comedy out of every single one.

Gloria and Duncan Dodds have designed and constructed a very practical set, having for the most part a single backdrop of the Addams House. The use of a level, being a staircase, worked well and gave the actors lots of space to move and work on. The ancestors used the upper level effectively in musical numbers as to not upstage the main characters. Props were also used to change setting of scenes and the crew are to be commended on their timing of scene changes.

Susan Brown and her orchestra were precise and produced a full sound in each number, without being too loud which I have felt was the case in this venue previously.

Cathlyn- Rose Mckeller produced some smart Choreography for her cast and it was all very entertaining to watch. Her Tango de Amor could have been a lot faster though and it seemed the two leads could have coped with it. The dance highlight was “Just around the corner” and she used her better dancers to great effect but let her lesser skilled ensemble members still shine.

Gai Reckless and her costume team should be applauded; with such a large cast to fit all actors looked amazing and the well-known characters looked just as they should have.

Hills Musical Theatre Company have excelled in bringing this gem of a musical to the Model Farms stage, and I’m sure all that went to see the show left with a smile on their face, even the ones that didn’t know the Addams Family characters.

James Russell

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