Theatre Mirror Reviews-"The Addams Family"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"The Addams Family"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

UnCommon Theatre's spring show is "The Addams Family". UnCommon celebrates its 34th season and is one of the first theatre groups in the country to perform this newly released Broadway favorite. The Broadway version ran for 722 performances. This macabre tale explores the darkly delicious world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and of course, Lurch. The weird and wonderful family comes to life in a story that is every father's nightmare.Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family, a man her parents have never met. And if that weren't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he's never done before, keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday's 'normal' boyfriend and his parents. Topnotch direction and choreography by Michael LaFleur brings out the comic and macabre moments of this spooky musical with fantastic music direction by Esther Zabinski. They lead this talented cast of 24, seventh to twelfth graders in a contemporary musical treat that people of all ages can savor and enjoy.

Michael's expert direction and blocking elicits the best out of these young performers. Esther garners a marvelous choral sound especially in the group numbers. They are well done and include "When You're An Addams", they celebrate with their dead ancestors what it means to be part of their family, "Full Disclosure" , is a parlor game where they each confess something and sounds like "They Both Reached for the Gun" from "Chicago", and "Move Towards Darkness" when they sing about becoming a united family again and Fester takes off for the moon during it. The set was designed  by Michael especially impressive is the two story staircase set, while the costumes are by Chris Lowey. Leading this large cast is Joe Spirito as Gomez. He is marvelous in this huge role with a topnotch Spanish accent. His songs have a Spanish flair to them. Joe sings "Trapped", when he feels badly about keeping the secret from his wife, "Happy/Sad", a poignant number perfectly rendered when Gomez is happy his daughter found someone to love but sad that she is leaving the family nest, and "Not Today". Playing his leading lady is Alexandra Phillips as Morticia. She sings "Secrets" with Lucas' mother about their innermost secrets and "Just Around the Corner" where Morticia feels she is no longer needed by her family. This turns into an energetic dance number with the female ancestors. Her duet with Joe is "Let's Live Before We Die", where Gomez confesses that he loves Morticia. Terrific job by the two leads.

The rest of the cast lives up to the high standards of the leading players. Cara DiPietro is dynamite as Wednesday. She makes her a spunky gal who doesn't take crap from anyone. Cara has a strong voice and sings "Pulled", where she tries to decide between torturing Pugsley or being in love with Lucas, and "Crazier Than You" with her boyfriend and family, where they argue whose family is crazier than the other .Matthew Corbett is wonderful as Lucas and Cara's chemistry together is fantastic. He sings "Crazier Than You" where he admits his love for her by letting her shoot an apple off his head. Max Simons as Uncle Fester is a hoot in this role. He sings "But Love" where he tells the ancestors what his secret longings are while strumming a ukulele, and "The Moon and Me" where he declares his love for the moon. One of his funniest lines is "to the moon, Alice" which was one of Jackie Gleason's comic lines from "The Honeymooners".

Jillian Bernier as Grandma has many funny lines and makes them hit pay dirt. No one knows whose mother she is and she smokes weed in the attic. Nicholas Levine shines as Pugsley. He sings "What If", where he worries about losing Wednesday to her boyfriend. The lyrics to this number are hysterical. Later on he decides to give Wednesday one of Grandma's secret potions that will bring out her dark side so she'll keep on torturing him. Sam Leehan as Lurch has many comic moments including when he first meets Lucas' family and when he finally sings near the end of the show. He displays his strong singing voice, Rounding out the cast as Lucas' parents are Ian Simpson and Abby Spare as Mal and Alice Beineke. He wants his son to marry Wednesday while she spouts funny poems.They have many funny scenes together as Lucas' parents. Abby sings the hilarious "Waiting" after she drinks Pugsley's secret potion and confesses what is wrong with her marriage. They then make up with each other in "Crazier Than You" with comical results. Kudos to one and all for an entertaining and well done performance. So for a fun filled time with a mysterious and kooky musical, be sure to catch "The Addams Family" in Foxboro before they blast off to the moon with Uncle Fester.

"The Addams Family" (9 - 11 May)
@ 1 School Street, FOXBORO

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide