Thursday, 28 September 2017

REVIEW: The Addams Family, New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Diddly dee *click* *click*

The hottest tour on the UK circuit was welcomed with open arms last night to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre with a packed audience – eager to see what the night ahead would bring. Headlining the tour is Samantha Womack as Morticia, Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday. Les Dennis plays Uncle Fester, but at last night’s press performance, the role was played by Scott Paige. 

“Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows. She's fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family. With his cherished Morticia in the dark will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret until the two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences? Join them, plus Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley and more for a heart-warming story of love, family and friendship… with a twist!”

When the announcement was made that Scott Paige would be playing the role of Uncle Fester, the applause was HUGE. Having been thoroughly impressed by his performance in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the end of last year, I too was excited to see him but the warmth and appreciation for his appearance as Fester was lovelier than I would have ever expected. If only all understudies were greeted with such affection! He was marvelous in the role and you would never have known the role was not his to play full-time. Bravo, Mr Paige.

As the sadistic and twisted (yet somehow lovable and strangely relatable) Wednesday is Carrie Hope Fletcher. She is one of the most influential bloggers/vloggers/authors for young women out there. Her fans, affectionately named “Hopefuls” represented a healthy chunk of last night’s audience – she was greeted with whoops and cheers before the show had really even begun but she did not rest on any laurels. From her Les Miserables days, her voice has matured beautifully and she was completely magnetic in the show. Wednesday’s anthem “Pulled” is one which many people will have heard her sing before at various showcases (one youtube video has racked up over 755,000 views) but live, it is really something special to see. Wednesday is clearly a character she was born to play.

Samantha Womack’s Morticia was expertly portrayed – so dry; so funny. In partnership with Cameron Blakely as Gomez, the two were a truly wonderful pair. Blakely’s accent meant at times, the diction was unclear and some of the song lyrics were hard to understand but overall, thanks to his masterful comedic timing, voices and physicality, he was a favourite for us all. Between Womack and Blakely, there were so many punchy one-liners (some surprisingly naughty for a ‘family show’!) I found myself giggling a lot more than I had anticipated. Act 2 features a dramatic, moon-lit tango number from them which was sharp, clean and passionate. I loved it.

I must commend Dickon Gough for his superb Lurch. Oh, I was in stitches laughing at his physicality. The looks exchanged between Lurch and the others were absolutely genius. Grant McIntyre as Pugsley was also fabulous with his vocal track being one of the highest for a male performer I’ve heard in a long time! He nailed it. 

Unfortunately, the sound balance was a little off at Woking – either vocalists were often too quiet or the orchestra was simply too loud. Either way, I did struggle to hear the lyrics on quite a few occasions but this is a flaw which is easily remedied. Thankfully, the live orchestra played marvelously and were a delight to listen to.

The Addams Family is not the family show I thought it would be. It was very cheeky; filled with innuendos, gags and naughty moments (which for us adults was great!) so I’d be wary if you were considering taking young children along! Nevertheless, I left the theatre wanting to be part of this kooky clan of miscreants. The Addams Family is a delightful evening of ghoulish glory – a must see for those who want to release their dark-side!

Review by Harriet Langdown

Rating: ★★★★
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