They’re finally here………. Ba da da dum (snap, snap); Ba da da dum (snap, snap) …. and …you know the rest. ‘The Addams Family’ opened April 14 at Port Perry’s Town Hall and it’s worth checking it out if anything either to relive the zany and kooky humour from the old black and white tv show with John Astin and Carolyn Jones OR to remember reading the ghoulish Chas Addams cartoons.
A bit of history regarding the original cast of this musical comedy. It opened in Chicago (with Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia) to mostly panned reviews and commentaries. Once a number of changes in the text (including book directors) were implemented the show travelled to the Great White Way with the same cast where it opened, once again, to a number of negative reviews. But with Lane and Neuwirth at the helm (followed by a replacement cast of Roger Rees and Brooke Shields), the show played to mostly packed houses for a year before closing. There was a wonderful Equity touring production that played in Toronto a few years ago with yet another revision to the script that was to have been implemented in New York before the show closed. From what I understand, it is this text that will be used in future professional and non-professional productions.
One final bit of history. If you YOUTUBE ‘Clandango’, you can find the opening musical number to the Chicago production that never made it to Broadway and to the current text used. On a personal note, this musical number propels the story forward regarding Wednesday’s transition to womanhood far more than the one that is used in all productions. Again, this is only a personal comment.
SCS is to be congratulated for producing ‘The Addams Family’ as it is one to which you can bring the entire family to enjoy. As Gomez Addams, the tall and lanky Darren Klingenburg plays the patriarch with a wink of a caricature of all the great Latin lovers without crossing the line. Kyffen Gaudet is slinky, slithery and sexy as the matriarch, Morticia. In pairing these two, you have the makings of a couple that is truly hot for each other especially in the tango dance of the second act where they gaze at each other so longingly that you might have to throw cold water on them.
Kathy Knight as the perpetually high and stoned 102-year-old grandmother (looking for some 90 year old hotties since she has one more round in her) is a hoot and provides many of the laughs. Listen carefully, kids, as she provides Pugsley (Melissa Thornton) with some important information about reading a book. Melissa Thornton is quite believable as the odd son, Pugsley, who loves to be tortured by his older sister, Wednesday (a lovely singing voice in Emily Tohana). Wednesday has finally found her true love in the wholesome boy next door (a solid performance and singing voice of Richard De Jong) and wants to marry him. She only wants one normal night for his up tight parents (convincingly played by real life couple Richard and Deborah De Jong) to meet her parents. Normal night, you say, hah!!!!!!! Far from it. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story for you.
Rounding out this cast are Uxbridge Town Crier, Bill McKee as the balding, weird of no specific sexuality Uncle Fester who narrates part of this story. His love song to the Moon is quite hilarious. We can’t forget the zombie butler, Lurch, (played for many laughs by David Hooker) who surprises all of us in the second act in something he does. The company of the Addams Family Ancestors is a treat to watch as they work together as a real ensemble of players and help set the mood for specific scenes. Not once do they ever upstage the action playing out in front of them.
A great deal of work has gone into the vocal work, set construction, costume design and make up for this production. For the most part, I could hear the lyrics of most of the songs and I’m certain this will improve as performances continue. I marveled at how easy set pieces were brought off and on in a matter of seconds. The costumes were textured and layered nicely. I can only imagine some of the cast must be called early to ensure they have time to put their make up on. When you see the play, you’ll understand why.
Performances of ‘The Addams Family’ continue to April 23 at Port Perry’s Town Hall at 8 pm with some matinees at 2 pm. For further information, visit their website for further information or call 905-985-8181.