NODA Report
(The Addams Family - 2014)

The Willow Tree Theatre Company
New Hall
6th December, 2014

Director:  Jo Wilson-Hunt
M.D:  Ian Crew
Choreography:  Debbie Sherman

All of a 'certain age' will remember the intro to this quirky, kooky show. The clicks will certainly be remembered at this beautifully staged production, which opened with several pairs of hands on view all clicking in time to the iconic tune.

Familiarity is oh so important when staging a musical based on what was primarily a cartoon; followed by a televised adaptation in the 60's and films in the 90's. Accurate character representation can make or break; in this show it was remarkable! Immaculately dressed with extraordinary make-up, there was no mistaking who was who. Traits relevant to each character were maintained with creditable consistency, the reincarnation of all family members being just as remembered.

Music from the show consists of a varied genre with tastes of Latin, swing and jazz, all played by the eight piece band with energy and accuracy, resulting in a lovely balanced sound. Cast sang with confidence, their crisp, unified tone a joy to hear. Soloists performed every word sang, ensuring a seamless transition between voice and lines.

Choreography from a predominantly dance based company has to be spot on and it was! Modern, edgy and being entirely applicable to the story with performance stylish and skilful. Gomez and Morticia's tango was a pure pleasure to watch, certainly worth more than a Strictly Len's "Seven".

To quote the director, the set was inspired by Gothic art at the V and A museum. I can only imagine the joy at the resulting interpreted vision of her inspiration, masterly painted with a huge amount of attention to detail accentuated by lovely lighting touches that also picked out every action and face.

This society appears to be inundated with talented members, cast could not be faulted; diction was clear with the story easily understood. After the 'silliness' and pace of act one, touching moments within the various relationships rightly slowed the pace and stirred the emotions in act two. This was particularly obvious between Wednesday, Gomez and Morticia who showed wonderful chemistry as did Mal and Alice Beineke. The latter giving a hilarious performance after mistakenly drinking Pugsley's potion. All principals gave stand-out character portrayals, without exception, but a special mention must be made of Uncle Fester, his physicality and facial expression were sublime. The picture of him in striped long johns, playing a ukulele, singing to the moon will stay with me for a long time, one of my favourite scenes!

Without doubt, this show rates as one of my top five seen in amateur theatre, full credit to all involved in bringing this magic to the stage.