NODA Review – The Addams Family

The NKT Summer School – The Addams Family – August 2018

Review by NODA Rep – DeeDee Doke

Da da da DAH – finger snap, finger snap – da da da DAH – finger snap, finger snap… any guess as to which musical that little intro belongs to?

Popular culture’s most appealing collection of ghouls, the Addams family, are the stars ofa silly but clever musical that’s proved a real hit on the UK community theatre circuit

with nary a full-blown West End production to date. But who needs the West End? A slick rendering recently staged in Newmarket by the NKT Summer School, part of the

NOMADS organisation, brought this madcap crop of characters to life – well, in relative terms given their ‘undead’ nature – for two hours of good-humoured entertainment.

The plot focuses on teenager Wednesday Addams’s falling in love with a ‘normal’ teenage boy, Lucas Beineke. Wednesday invites Lucas’s family to dinner with the

deliriously weird Addams clan, consisting of mother Morticia, father Gomez, brother Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandma, and butler Lurch. This ‘meet the parents’ get-together at

the Addamses’ creepy Central Park mansion is set for disaster. Based on characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family is a

novelty show that can give a creative team a great chance to go wild with the trappings of a deliriously weird environment and characters – extreme make-up, props, set. Happily in

this production, directed by Andy Thorpe, the trappings were as weird as they needed to be, but the bulk of time and energy was clearly invested on pacing, characterisation,

musical performance and effective use of the ensemble. Great choice/s! In its Broadway incarnation,The Addams Family gave stellar stage talents such as

Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth opportunities to shine, and in the hands of the right performers, as Lane and Neuwirth demonstrated, the roles of the Addams Family

members in particular can turn into tours des forces. In Newmarket’s production, Jake Overy’s performance of Gomez was a pure comedic

delight – a would-be matinee hero in his clumsily romantic appeals to wife Morticia, nervously bombastic in his attempts to be a charming host, and torn between his duties to

daughter Wednesday and to wife Morticia. Overy beautifully navigated the nuances, making Gomez both suave and teeth-clenchingly embarrassing, and he delivered his

songs in fine voice with gusto and aplomb. Joseph Beach gave a new dimension to the jovially sinister Uncle Fester we’ve come to

know and love on the 1960s cult TV Addams series. Beach injected a feral, suggestive gleefulness into the role of Gomez’s brother, making this usually benign character more

dangerous and unpredictable – a highly sophisticated and show-stopping performance