Holroyd Musical & Dramatic Society : The Addams Family (A new musical comedy)- Review by Tracy Payne
From the moment you enter through the doors, it is clear that this is no ordinary family. They’re creepy, spooky and strangely familiar. Still, there’s no need to fear because you are in the presence of Holroyd Musical & Dramatic Society’s wonderfully witty production of “The Addams Family”.
Under the joint directorship of Justin Phan and Amy Biankin, a multi-talented and multi-tasking team of performers and creatives have brought the story of the Addams and Beineke families to life with an enthralling energy and warmth.
Guiding the audience through the story is the lovably quirky Uncle Fester, played brilliantly by Dean McGrath. McGrath’s portrayal was engaging and humorous, and his powerful vocals brought cheers from the audience. Portraying Gomez, the leader of the Addams family, was the multi-talented Carlos Almeida. An established performer, Almeida owned the stage in every scene with a flawless accent, impeccable timing and strong vocals. But just when you thought he couldn’t be more perfect for the role, Almeida’s dancing skills came to the fore and impressed the audience anew as he joined Morticia, Callista Banks for a fabulous tango in Act II. Speaking of Callista Banks, she offered an authentic portrayal of Morticia, meeting the expectations of the iconic character while also inserting delicate moments of humour and vulnerability. A strong actor and vocalist, Banks made an impact from her first entrance; however, it was her skills as a dancer that drew the most thunderous applause. Seriously … the tango! Ally Palmer’s choreography capitalised on the cast's skills, but Banks was the star in this and every dance number.
While the characters of the Addams Family are well known, the story takes a turn from the 1960s TV show by focusing on Wednesday as a young adult stepping into the wider world. Wednesday, played by Co-Director Amy Biankin, grapples with her sense of identity as she tries to align the values of her family of origin with her new-found romance with Lucas Beneike, Joshua Straw. Biankin offered a strong performance with commanding vocals. Her experience with previous productions of the show and her role as co-director of this production ensured that her concept of character was firmly established and clearly conveyed. Joshua Straw matched Amy Biankin’s energy and confidence in their shared scenes. Strong actors and vocalists in their own right, the two worked well together and offered convincing and engaging performances.
Playing Lucas Beneike’s parents and providing hysterical contrast to the world of the Addams’ household were Paul Adderley and Felicity Amos. Adderley was convincing as the uptight father, presenting a commanding persona while also finding room for subtlety, humour and convincing character development. Playing opposite Adderley, Felicity Amos was sensational. Multi-tasking in this production as both Alice Beneike and Assistant Musical Director, Amos was an unstoppable force. Her character portrayal was flawless, her comic timing impeccable, her dancing and physical comedy were on point, and her vocals, both in her solo moments and as lead soprano in full company numbers, were simply spectacular.
Honourable mentions must also go to Amy Fowler (Grandma Addams) and Douglas Bryant (Lurch), who were perfect in their roles. Both actors demonstrated excellent comic timing, eliciting laughs from the audience, whether front of stage or in the background. As with others in the production, Grandma and Lurch are iconic characters from whom certain traits are expected; Fowler and Bryant honoured these beautifully while adding new fun layers.
The youngest member of the Addams Family was also the youngest member of the lead cast. Isabella Safadi played Pugsley with confidence and the appropriate quirky energy. It was a wonderful performance that showed the skills of the young performer.
Effective comic timing and strong vocals could be considered trademarks of this production, for not only were these qualities demonstrated by the lead actors, but the same skills were demonstrated by the ensemble. The “Ancestors” were featured in almost every scene, providing vocal harmonies, presenting choreography, moving sets and props, and offering moments of comic response. Credit goes to the Directors, Musical Directors (Ian Colley & Felicity Amos), and Choreographer (Ally Palmer) for guiding the cast in this and ensuring such consistency.
Also deserving of mention are Hayley Cascarino (Digital Set Design) and Matt Lutz (Lighting Design and Operation). These elements were beautifully designed and flawlessly executed, supporting the actors’ performances and enhancing the audience experience.
This was an enjoyable production created by talented performers and the passionate community of the Holroyd Musical & Dramatic Society. Full disclosure - this production is worth 4.5 Full Moons.