The Addams Family – Paradise in Augustine’s

Directed by Dominic Lewis

Choreography by Felicity Thomas

Musical Director – Finlay Turnball

Instinctively, the audience clicks their fingers. For over eighty years, the grotesquely charming family of gloom has found constant ways to re-invent themselves. From an early appearance in the late ’30s as a satirical punch at idealistic American family values, they’ve gone from film to television and of course, onto the stage. Charles Addams’ The Addams Family are here in Edinburgh until August 10th, and you deserve whatever cruel fate is instore if you miss out…

So, what could the family be up to this time? Well, horror has befallen them. Something so disturbing, so stomach-churningly vile that it comes with a warning. Wednesday Addams is wearing yellow. Oh, and she’s in love with someone normal. Hard to fathom, especially for her parents Gomez and Morticia, but it’s true. A young man from Ohio, a blue-collared boy who might have a little sliver of darkness hidden beneath his smile. With their families meeting, Gomez makes the fatal error of lying to Morticia at his daughter’s bequest. As one might image, it doesn’t go well.

With such an iconic cast of grim characters, it’s a bit of a bugger to compete with their image. Bare Productions, however, not only match our expectations but excel in putting their stamp onto individuals. The iconic Morticia is a stoic, room commanding woman by Jo Heinemeier, capable of allure, yet knowing there’s a sharpness to her wit. Sharing this is Rebecca Drever who, without favour, has the tightest vocals of the evening, only rivalled by Andrew Chernouski’s Fester or Cameron Kirby.

Notable numbers to mention are the opening, which, within the first thirty seconds confirms this to be a stellar production and ‘Just Around the Corner’. A number which richly showcases the live band’s talents, who thankfully are given credit by Bare Productions having them on full view for the production.

It isn’t all about the voices, The Addams Family is just as much a comedy, as it is a musical, which director Lewis and choreographer Felicity Thomas are keen to remember. Their ensemble pieces with ancestors offer movement pieces which are lively (for the dead no less) and highlight the physical talents of Laura Emily and Steph Knowles.

Robbing the scenes is the lothario himself Michael Davies as Gomez, as charming as one might expect. Yet, when called upon, his father-daughter scenes with Drever are touching. A talent he shares with Chernouski’s Fester, who can bundle through the Manor doors one second yet well our eyes at his proclamations of love to the moon.

The only issue, and it’s an odd one, is that some of the vocal performances are too perfect. This highlights members of the cast who are performers first, singers second. No one delivers weak vocals though, even the least proficient could still outperform the audience.

Achieving a sublime balance in humour with emotional drama, Bare Productions earns its reputation as a high-class amateur production company. Their previous stint at the Fringe began this trend, and The Addams Family proves it. An exceptional evening of meticulous choreography, vocals which challenge those of the Broadway stars and a few grisly moments just to keep you on your toes. A must-see for any Fringe goer.

Tickets are still available in venue at Paradise in Augustine’s. Be sure to get in quick for a mostly sold-out run! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/addams-family-1

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