WITHAM AMATEUR OPERATIC SOCIETY
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Directed by Nikki Mundell-Poole
Musical Director Geoff Osborne
Choreographer Nikki Mundell-Poole
Performed at Witham Public Hall 2nd May 2015
Advertised as a “New Musical Comedy” the title fitted the bill. Hilarious dialogue with many a double entendre, especially from Gomez Addams, and a very strong cast from principals through to every member on stage. All the main principals gelled well together from the father figure Gomez to his rather superior wife Morticia, through to rebellious daughter Wednesday, crazy son Pugsley, brother Fester. Sweet Fester!! and of course not forgetting Grandma and the famous Lurch. Constance Lawton as Morticia had it all, voice, attitude, style and together with Stewart Adkins as Gomez Addams it was a tour de force. Stewart’s singing was bang in the middle of his lower vocal range and very strong. Emotional too at times when faced with ultimatums from his wife, and at all times an important figure to all the family. Ashton Reed as Wednesday gave a super performance as this feisty teenager with great enthusiasm for the character which was very well played. Light relief came from Trevor Marks as Fester. Gentle and effective in “The Moon and Me” and a sensitively played character. Loved the make-up. The make up team also deserves a credit for all the characters. Young Fraser McLauchlan did well as Pugsley, and the character of Lurch was good with Richard Herring. I enjoyed Edward Groombridge as the crazy Grandma. Perhaps a walking stick might have added to the pose taken by Edward as a very elderly old lady, again great make-up.
Now to the Beineke family with all it’s hang ups! Corrina Wilson as Alice had a great feel for the comedy of this role, and the powerful range of her high soprano voice which came through especially in the ensemble numbers was superb. I must also compliment the top sops in the chorus who also were on great form, it sounded truly professional. Mal Beineke played by Niels Bradley was suitably correct in his understated character, and Ed Tunningley was convincing as Lucas. Both musically and for high standard stagework this was one of the best WAOS shows with some thrilling sounds from the cast, backed so well by Geoff Osborne and the Orchestra. A large cast which Nikki had used to it’s full capacity, and such a range of interest happening on stage for the audience to observe. The choreography was superb and slick with amazing attention to detail with all the cast totally involved. WAOS are a group who just keeps pushing boundaries and achieving such a high standard. This was a brave choice and it paid off. I was totally absorbed in the show. Many congratulations to Nikki, Geoff and everyone, whether on stage or backstage in so many important category’s giving thee audiences a truly great production.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Witham Amateur Operatic Society
Cartoon strip, black and white tv show, a popular, if not critical, success on Broadway, and the West End planned for next year.
This wonderfully weird family is busy in Essex just now, with WAOS this week, and LODS [at the Palace Westcliff] next.
The Witham show looks great, with projected backdrops and some stunning stage pictures. The living dead, the assorted ancestral Addamses from history, are pallid and wraith-like, with creative costumes in shades of beige and grey.
Against them, the harsher black and white of the present-day family, and the tasteful leisure-wear of their in-laws-to-be, the Beinekes from Ohio.
Some excellent performances in both camps. Corrina Wilson is priceless as Mrs Beineke: whining voice, powerful soprano and a spectacular “Waiting” after her chalice has been spiked. Stewart Adkins, as Gomez Addams, bears the brunt of the show, ably keeping the comedy coming and delivering some brilliant numbers; Constance Lawton his classy Morticia. The rest of the clan have varying success with the very special style this show demands – Edward Groombridge gives a splendid Grandma, and Fraser McLaughlan shows presence and polish as Pugsley. Trevor Marks has his moments as the moonstruck Fester, though the role demands a little more, perhaps. The star-crossed lovers are engagingly portrayed by Ashton Reed and Ed Tunningley.
Nikki Mundell-Poole's energetic production is imaginatively staged – the supper-table “Full Disclosure”, jazz hands and enthusiasm from the ensemble, “Death Is Just Around The Corner”, the trees in Central Park, the “Secrets” dance routine, the chorus in “One Normal Night”.
All in the worst possible taste. The lyrics frequently sound feeble, the book is patchy, though there are some winning lines: “... makes Mary Poppins sound like Medea./ I'm not getting your references./ Well quit the texting and pick up a book for once!”.
The music, though rarely memorable, is serviceable in many genres, and is well served by the company under Musical Director Geoff Osborne.
Always good to see a new musical, even if the characters are familiar. And Witham certainly pull out all the stops to sell the show. But I'm not sure I shall be queuing outside the St James's next year …
The Addams Family
Witham Amateur Operatic Society
Witham Public Hall
April 27 – May 2
It takes some time to tune in to this somewhat curious concoction.
But the inverted values of the family in question soon became clear with lines such as ‘It’s what every Addams hopes for: darkness, grief and unspeakable sorrow’ and ‘I remember the day she poisoned me. No one else cared enough to try.’
Such bizarreness gave the cast full rein for wilder characterisation and they attacked it joyously, with Edward Groombridge, as 103-year-old Grandma and Trevor Marks as Fester, the brother having a love affair with the Moon, in particularly twinkling form.
Corrina Wilson lets rip in a wonderful cameo as Alice Beineke while Ashton Reed and Ed Tunningley, fresh from their leading roles in February’s WOW production of Our House, bring quirkiness and confusion to the young couple.
Ten-year-old Fraser McLauchlan showed maturity in the role of the put-upon little brother while Constance Lawton has the appropriate stony-faced reserve as Morticia, behind whose cool exterior beats a heart of ice.
But most of the responsibility rests on the shoulders of Stewart Adkins. In a career of 57 varieties – that is how many WAOS shows he has been in – he is hidden beneath wig, moustache and Spanish-Transylvanian accent and can seldom have had such a delicious part as Gomez, who dominates the stage whenever he is on it.
Inevitably, he rises to the occasion, as do the whole cast where the Addams’ attire (black, naturally) contrasts with the wide variety of paleness in the zombie chorus.
Together with some clever lighting effects, it draws us seductively into the world of the Addams Family.