North Shore Theatre Company: The Addams Family - Review by Jordan Anderson
They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. They’re all together ooky. They’re the Addams Family. And what a family! Everyone knows of the Addam’s penchant for the dark, everyone knows that Gomez and Morticia tango in a fiery passion on the grave of their ancestors, everyone knows how Wednesday relentlessly tortures her brother Pugsley (and how he likes it) and everyone knows Uncle Fester is well… weird. What I’m saying is that next to the Simpsons, the Addams family is one of the most recognisable American families and North Shore Theatre Company and their cast of 24 young performers have done a wonderful job celebrating these characters and the long history that befalls them, but also bringing their own personality twists to them.
The Addams Family follows its own unique storyline, drawing inspiration from the many tales that befall it from movies and television shows to its start as a comic strip. A young Wednesday Addams on the cusp of adulthood, finds love with a boy from a normal family and these two families come together over dinner to learn about each other’s World’s and in true Addams style, things go off the rails. Oh, and there’s an ensemble of dead ancestors to liven things up, you know that usual romance trope. Filled with classic lines, new music and enough death jokes to fill a cemetery this is a story and a night out to entertain new and old fans.
What really makes this story move though, is the family. These classic well-known characters that have had countless iterations. The passionate Latino lover Gomez, the sinfully seductive Morticia, the cold calculating Wednesday, the explosive Pugsley and the… weird Uncle Fester. No matter the plot, just putting this household together you’re bound to have a good time. NTSC’s cast has honoured the versions that have come before them but have also strived to make them their own, creating fun new observations and really allowing them to revel in the absurdity of it all.
The two stars of the show are without a doubt Chris Melotti as Gomez Addams and Andrea Van Den Bol as Morticia Addams. Chris played the fiery Latin lover with a lot of suave charm and paternal love. His song ‘Happy Sad’ was a beautiful moment of quiet love, acceptance and pain for his daughter growing up contrasted to his earlier bold and outgoing sword buckling energy. Andrea as Morticia was simply wonderful, her doleful drawl and macabre fascination with death and darkness was on full display and what a voice, her rendition of ‘Keep No Secrets’ was like listening to warm dark chocolate. The two of them had excellent chemistry together, showcasing the devoted husband and the in-control matriarch of the Addams clan and their inevitable tango was hot!
The talent in this family doesn’t stop with the parents, Erin Pacholke plays Wednesday Addams with much teen angst. Her relationship with Lucas, felt fresh and fun, a stark contrast to her earlier staunch frankness, and her belt in ‘Pulled’ was a definite highlight of the show. Jack Waters, Wednesday’s annoying little brother Pugsley, is a rising star, his energy was infectious, and he managed to steal every scene he could.
Try as I might, I can’t forget Andrew Read as Uncle Fester. He’s somehow managed to burn himself into my brain and honestly that’s a little terrifying. The best word to describe him is weird and I won’t say any more about that. The joy he was experiencing just getting to be himself on stage was obvious, and he really tied the show together as the speaker for the ancestors. Also, his little dance break in the ‘The Moon and Me’ was strangely adorable. Eddi-Elle Mia as Grandma was hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh every time she came on stage, from the moment she shuffled on stage pushing her little potions cart. The same could be said for Ben Cody-Osborne as Lurch, the number of words he had was not indicative of the amount of laughs he got from the audience.
There was real talent on this stage and almost too many to mention, but I do want to give some shout outs to the Beineke family, Mal and Alice played by Jay Rushwood and Madeline Maronese and their son Lucas, played by Xavier Smith. They provided a great foil to the Addams Family and their family dynamic felt real and upsetting all at once. Watching Alice finally standing up to Mal was one of the best moments of the show and you really cared for them all by the time the curtains closed.
Not only were the cast excellent, but I do have a few other things to mention. The set designed by Alan Roy and Rocco Sergi was very impressive and utilised well, it had enough hidden secrets to really keep whimsy and intrigue throughout the show. Choreography by Kate Anthonisz and Lauren Mackinnon was fabulous and helped to tell the story and further the characterisations of this creepy family. Daniel Baykitch as Musical Director and his Asssistant Jessica Tannous have done a wonderful job, not only with the orchestra but creating a good blend in the harmonies, especially considering the large number of female voices in the ensemble. As a side note I do have to mention the incredible job of mixing done by Audio Engineer Tim Collins, this was one of the best sounding shows I’ve heard in the community circuit for a while.
Director Kris Sergi has not had an easy job bring together so many moving parts to put on this show, but she has excelled, creating a thoroughly enjoyable show that kept the audience laughing and cheering from the second the cast took to the stage. I eagerly look forward to seeing what they do next. North Shore Theatre Company should be incredibly proud of this production as well as everybody who was involved. I give this production 3 and a half ancient instruments of torture and if anyone sees a hand scurrying around, please let me know.