Latest Instagrams
Showing posts with label andrew lippa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label andrew lippa. Show all posts
Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Addams Family (UK Tour), Grand Opera House | Review

The Addams Family (UK Tour), Grand Opera House | Review
Thursday, 5 October 2017
Read post

The Addams Family (UK Tour)
The Grand Opera House, Belfast
Reviewed on Tuesday October 3rd by Damien Murray

This Irish and UK premiere tour production of the musical comedy, The Addams Family was an entertaining and fast-paced production of Andrew Lippa’s funny musical about a less than conventional family and its ancestors.

Right from the off, it was obvious that this was not going to be ‘One Normal Night’, as – during the overture – a finger-clicking hand appeared through the letter box; the hand of an unknown person (in this case, probably a ‘stage hand’!!).

Mainly played out on the superbly old and run-down eerie mansion befitting to such a weird and spooky family, the functional set designs, with moveable staircases and great use of the two side balconies, helped greatly with the good pace of this production.

Despite the family’s appearance, values and lifestyle, this atmospheric piece is not so much scary as it is a funny musical with great one-liners that, thankfully, are never just throw away lines for the experienced cast.

We were then introduced to a mixed bag of weird ancestors who looked almost normal when compared to the central family of the piece.


They made up a well-used ensemble, which, despite its relative lack of numbers, produced some excellent harmonies during choral pieces (e.g. 'One Normal Night' and 'Move Toward The Darkness') and provided solid support throughout in vocals, dance, movement, visuals and as a distraction during scene changes.

While the Act 1 finale, 'Full Disclosure' (Part 2) was a great production number, the orchestra and cast rose to the challenge here with the varied and difficult score, which - apart from the variety of tempo changes from one song to the next - had to cope with a degree of musical fragmentation caused by lots of start/stops throughout many songs and challenging underscoring.

While the great musicality of the tango rhythms made numbers like 'Trapped', 'Secrets' and 'Not Today' stand out here, it was the orchestra’s sheer accuracy of performance and the visual impact of the dancers in the production number, 'Tango De Amour', that combined to make this an irresistible musical highlight.

'Pulled' was another highlight because of Wednesday’s strong vocal performance, while the flamenco flavoured music of 'Let’s Live Before We Die' impressed and 'But Love' provided a little vaudeville-style distraction between scenes.

There were some soft ballads in the varied score, including the gentle, 'The Moon And Me', while 'Move Toward The Darkness' was unusual in that it is rare that a ballad is used as a finale number, but it did allow for some great choral work.It was good to see the reprise of the up-tempo, 'When You’re An Addams', being used to send all home happy after the ballad finale.

Choreography was a strong element in this production and the concepts were well-executed right from the opening production number, 'When You’re An Addams', when we knew that there was going to be no problems with dance, as this song’s varied choreography included lots of arm movements and samples of line dancing, the bunny hop and the twist. The moon ballet was well-staged ('The Moon And Me'), while it was a nice touch to use a ‘young’ Wednesday to highlight the emotions of the song during Happy Sad.


The nightmarish family in this macabre musical was effortlessly brought to life by the talented principals, including Cameron Blakely as the Latino-looking and hen-pecked husband, Gomez, who supplied some touching moments in the song, 'Happy Sad', yet also managed to deliver the song’s humorous lines on cue, while always maintaining the right comic timing to get the laughs when needed. 

Samantha Womack as the very much in-charge and matriarchal Morticia was both tall and elegant and looked the part in her long black ankle-length dress and long black hair like Crystal Gale. Boasting dead-pan looks that could kill, this was a very confident performance from a total all-rounder with a great voice and good stage presence who perfectly captured her character’s dry wit. She also proved to be a most impressive dancer, especially in the song and dance number, 'Just Around The Corner', which allowed her to show her macabre emotions of joy.

However, for me, the star of the show was Carrie Hope Fletcher’s manipulative daughter, Wednesday. This amazingly talented girl is a strong performer with a great voice and real stage presence and this was highlighted in her performance throughout, but especially during the ‘coming of age’ song, 'Pulled'.

In the absence of Les Dennis, due to illness, his understudy, Scott Paige, was more than deserving of this role and impressed greatly both in his acting, comic timing and vocal ability, especially as he was acting so much ‘out of age’ in this part. Despite playing the loveably crazy uncle, Fester, he provided lovely vocals during his gentle ballad, 'The Moon And Me' and as the show’s narrator character.

Dickon Gough had a dream role as the ever-growling zombie-like butler, Lurch, and played one of musical theatre’s great non-speaking parts exceptionally well, while Grant McIntyre, as Pugsley, played the younger brother with a grown-up attitude well.

There was good support from Charlotte Page’s fully-disclosed Alice, Dale Rapley’s typical American parent, Mal, and his college student son, Lucas, played by Oliver Ormson, while Valda Aviks’ eccentric Grandma was good, but I would like to have seen more of her character’s outspoken and irreverent attitude. 

Perfectly-timed sound effects and special visual effects like the thunder and lightening, the monster in the box and the use of individual ancestors in the portrait painting all added to the success of this slick production.

Thanks to the brilliant lighting, costumes, props, make-up and hair, this was a visually stunning show from its strong opening to its unusual ballad ending … absolutely ‘finger-clicking good’ throughout!

The Addams Family runs at the Grad Opera House, Belfast until October 7th.


Photo credit: Matt Martin 
Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

The Addams Family (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Read post

The Addams Family (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre

Reviewed on Tuesday May 16th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

The Addams Family musical comedy first made an appearance on the Broadway stage in 2010 and has finally made its way over the pond for its UK premiere. This version of the much loved cartoon series family, sees them struggle as their daughter Wednesday falls in love with a 'normal' boy. In an attempt to make good, Wednesday organises a dinner party between the two families. What ensues are secrets, wackiness and a whole load of kooky chaos.

The production is wonderful and great to look at. Diego Pitarch's set is constantly changing and extremely layered but doesn't look overcrowded or messy and the Gothic feeling is achieved extremely well. The lighting and sound effects work well alongside it and the elaborate costumes and make up add a whole other, very effective, dimension.

Samantha Womack's Moticia is surprisingly funny and suitably dark and stiff but at times it feels she is too reliant on people already knowing the character instead of making it her own. Overall though she gives a very good performance, especially in the tango scene!

Cameron Blakely is the standout of the show as Gomez. He is passionate and energetic throughout, with a constant humour and stage presence. His little camp moments are hilarious and his voice is outstanding. His relationship with the whole cast is brilliant but especially with his daughter Wednesday.

Played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, Wednesday is witty and sharp whilst being suitably kooky. Her vocals are fantastic and she seems at ease on the stage. Her incredibly clear voice works wonderfully with large belting moments and her precise diction is notable especially during 'Pulled' which seems to be an audience favourite!

Oliver Ormson plays Wednesday's love interest, the all-American Ohio born, Lucas. The pair work well together but Fletcher is definitely the stronger of the two performance wise. Les Dennis is strong as the quirky uncle Fester and has the audience laughing with him as well acting as the narrator at points. His character does seem a little out of place at times and not developed enough to warrant a full song but Dennis pulls it off well.

Charlotte Page is hilarious as the rhyme talking mother, her voice is brilliant and she frequently steals the show! Her partner is played by Dale Rapley who is good but again feels a little under developed.

Andrew Lippa's music is full of life (and death), colour and vibrance and certainly has something for everyone. There are energetic moments (helped along by Alistair David's brilliantly slick choreography), hilarious moments and more contemplative moments which all combine for a lovely production.

This is a wonderful production which will hopefully see a West End life after its tour. There are genuine laugh out loud moments which are sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Overall, a stellar production.

The Addams Family is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until the 20th May before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Matt Martin
Latest pins

Subscribe