Petersfield Theatre Group believes in giving the audience for each of its shows a completely immersive experience. The Addams Family was no exception. As soon as we entered the theatre, we were surrounded by spooky decorations. The bar, decked out as the Addams Family Mansion, was serving Addams’ themed cocktails, with special cakes and pastries on offer too. What a wonderful way to get us in the mood! Entering the auditorium, we were stunned by the quality of the set on two levels, making great use of the stage and the floor in front of it. It was set with good quality props and furniture too – a big well done to everyone involved with getting the look so right!
Director Kat Wootton has brought together a very talented cast, not just for the living family but for the dead family too – each with their own character, they drifted in and out, always watching what was happening. Costumes (Claudia Vogt, Val Hart, and Patricia Buttery) were very well chosen, with the living family in black and white, the ghosts in very pale shades and the Beinekes the only colourful ones. The lighting was stunning too, very ethereal, and the sound was pin sharp (by Tom Pearce and Dom Turner respectively, of the Green ‘A’ Team) so that we heard all the lyrics and dialogue clearly. It probably helped that the band, under MD Gareth Baynham-Hughes, were ‘caged’ at the back of the stage and their lovely sound was nicely balanced with the singers.
Simon Stanley was well cast as Gomez Addams, always charismatic as he struggled to keep his daughter’s secret from his all-knowing wife. Karina Neeson as his wife Morticia, gave a beautifully pitched performance: smoulderingly sexy, especially in “Live Before We Die”, a great singer, with bags of attitude – not a wife to be ignored! Contrasting well with this was Lucy Summers as Alice Beineke – a timid mouse who, after mistakenly drinking a potion, bursts out of her shell and becomes the woman she always wanted to be. Hannah Evans was spot-on too as Wednesday Addams, playing the brattish character with great veracity.
Geoff Wootton made a charmingly barmy Uncle Fester, and William Hunt gave a very confident performance as Pugsley, with a penchant for being tortured by his sister! Sue Port was delightfully dotty as Grandma and Jack May gave us a geeky, lovelorn Lucas, while Conrad Stephenson was every inch (and there were a lot of inches with those shoes!) the robotic zombie of a butler, Lurch. Ben Gander must be given a special mention. He took over the role of Mal Beineke with just two weeks to go but made it his own. Had I not been told this beforehand, I would never have realised.
The singing throughout, by principals and chorus, was of the highest standard and the cleverly devised choreography (Hannah Evans and Amy Mannerings) was well executed, giving us many beautiful images throughout the show.
Kat Wootton must be congratulated for directing her first musical with such a sure hand. Petersfield is very lucky to have a company that produces shows to this high standard, and the last night full house showed its appreciation in no uncertain terms with a standing ovation. What more could you ask for? Thank you for entertaining us so well.
NODA SE Area 10 Representative