The Addams Family

The Addams Family

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Scotch College. The Fisher Chapel - Scotch College (SA).  28th July to 5th August, 2017

When asked to review a school production I am usually prepared to make allowances for the young performers’ capabilities and the available resources to mount full productions. In the case of The Addams Family I needn’t have worried though, the production was extremely polished.

The 60’s television series of this show is legendary and it is a challenge for anyone to replicate the iconic characters. The 2009 musical adaption with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa certainly does this and more. The show is packed with witty humour and catchy songs which serve to further develop the well-known television family favourite.

Braving the appropriately wet and windy weather I arrived at the Fisher Chapel and was instantly impressed with the level of technical prowess, starting with the overture featuring opening credits projected on the front curtain featuring some of the show’s major characters.

Before commenting on the talents of the performers, deserved credit must go to the production team. Director Adam Goodburn (well known to State Opera audiences) keeps the show tight, ensuing that not a laugh is lost. His understanding of the style of performance needed is evident in every aspect of the production.

Linda Williams’ choreography is punchy and highlights the comedy of the show. Her choreography for ‘Tango De Amor’ is particularly impressive.

Craig Williams’ video wall adds just the right touch as a background to the sets, evocatively designed and painted by Brian Budgen. Briony Nickels’ orchestra tackles a tricky score with finesse.

There are two casts that alternate in this production, the Creepy and Kooky casts, I saw the Kooky cast.

I met John Astin (Gomez from the television series) many times and Jordan Tomljenovic channels John’s Gomez in every way. Suitably suave yet vulnerable, he quickly endears us to the plight of his daughter marrying a ‘normal’ boy.

Tayla Prime has just the right amount of sex appeal and comedy timing as Morticia Addams. She controls the family, yet still has a heart and glides across the stage as sleek as a panther in black lace, blood red lipstick and nail polish.

Hannah Hamilton and Joshua Spiniello, as Wednesday and Pugley Addams, as well as being accomplished actors wow with their singing voices that have exactly the right timbre to tackle their difficult solos.

Harry Fiedler’s Uncle Fester is a joy to watch. He is the storyteller of the piece and his number ‘The Moon and Me’ is memorable.

Charlie Miller’s Grandma is full of guts and energy. She lights up every scene, particularly the dinner scene at the end of Act 1.

Nicholas Burt’s Lurch is lugubrious and ominous at the same time and nails the voice created in the original series.

Cousin It, played by Bella Mittiga, and Thing, played by Jasmyn Setchell, provide silent but essential elements to the family.

The Beineke family, Lucas (Matthew Daniell), Mal (Phoenix Starr Hentschke) and Alice (Lola Williams) provide the necessary contrast to the Addams family with their wholesome American values. I did feel that while their characterisations were strong, they struggled at times with projection or the extremes of the vocal ranges required. However, this may have been opening night nerves (for this cast).

A good chorus can make or break a production. The Kooky chorus gives us well-developed characters and, on the whole, a synchronised unit, especially considering the range of ages in this team.

Special mention should be made of the dancers in the chorus. They add the necessary technique in the larger numbers. Harry McGinty, being the only male in the dancers, naturally stands out; his technique is admirable.

All in all, the Scotch College production of The Addams Family is a joy to watch.

Barry Hill

Photography by Tim Allan of TA Media