Theatre Mirror Reviews - "THE ADDAMS FAMILY"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Beacon Charter High School's current show is "The Addams Family", a musical which ran on Broadway for 722 performances and is a sentimental tribute to Charles Addams' beloved characters. This macabre tale explores the deliciously dark world of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, Uncle Fester, Lurch, and Thing. This weird and wonderful family is every father's nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the princess of darkness, has grown up, fallen in love with a sweet, smart man from a respectable family, a man her family has never met. And if that isn't upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now Gomez must do something he has never done before, keep a secret from his wife, Morticia. Everything will change on that fateful night they host dinner for Wednesday and her "normal" boyfriend and his parents. Director Jason Robert LeClair brings out the macabre and comic moments in the show while Meghan Brruneault supplies the intricate dance steps. Musical director Brittany Dyer provides the topnotch musical direction of this talented cast and her seven piece orchestra. Together they create a marvelous musical that the entire family can enjoy and savor. The enthusiastic sold out crowd leapt to their feet at curtain call.

Jason blocks and directs this huge cast excellently and the many dances by Meghan include the Bunny hop, the twist, the swim, line dancing and the tango. The storybook set by Jason is phenomenal and the technical direction by Christopher Cournoyer is topnotch, too. The dance steps are executed marvelously by this young and energetic cast. Some topnotch group numbers under Brittany's direction include "When You're an Addams" with the dead ancestors coming back to life which wins thunderous applause, "Full Disclosure", a parlor game where secrets are revealed in an hilarious manner, (this song sounds like "Both Reached for the Gun" from "Chicago") and "Move toward the Darkness" where they sing about becoming a united family again. Also the well known TV song is used in this musical with the audience clapping along to it.

Leading the cast as Gomez is Duncan Lanier who commands the stage in this role. He handles the many comic moments wonderfully. Duncan has a topnotch baritone voice and Spanish accent. All of Gomez's songs have a Latin flair to them. He sings "Trapped" when he feels badly about keeping a secret from his beloved wife and "Happy/Sad" where he's happy Wednesday found the man of her dreams but is also sad that he is losing her. This latter number is an emotionally draining song which brings tears to your eyes. Duncan also sings "To Live Before We Die" when he reconciles with his wife. A standout number is "Tango De'Amour" between Gomez and Morticia when their family reunites and they dance the tango together. Zoe Gillis plays Morticia excellently. She displays her strong vocal skills in "Secrets" where she shares her innermost ones with Lucas' mother and in "Just Around the Corner" where Morticia believes her family doesn't need her anymore. This number turns into an energetic tap dance and kickline which she performs with the Ancestors. The show stopping duet is "To Live Before We Die" between Gomez and Morticia.

The rest of the cast is as talented as its two leads. Melissa Ferrante gives Wednesday, the backbone to stand up for what she believes in. She takes nonsense from nobody at all. Her strong voiced is heard in "Pulled" where Wednesday must decide whether to continue to torture Pugsley or to be in love with Lucas and in "Crazier Than You" where she and her beau argue who has the wackier family. The reprise is when she finally wins the man of her dreams. Jared Sheehan plays the normal Lucas with flair and panache. His acting is terrific as he finally lets his hair down when he allows Wednesday to shoot an apple off his head. His voice is also heard in "Crazier Than You." The biggest scene stealer in this show is Isiah Bouchard as the wild and crazy, Uncle Fester. He strums a ukulele and sings "But Love" with the ancestors and "The Moon and Me" where he dances with the female ancestors which wins much laughter from the crowd.

Another scene stealer is Brianna Giarusso as Grandma. Her comic one liners and antics are splendid. The audience learns she likes to smoke a joint in her room and nobody knows whose mother she really is. One of her funniest lines is when she tells Pugsley if he touched her shit that she'd rip his leg off. Jonah King plays Pugsley fabulously. His mischief making causes a dire predicament at the end of Act 1. He displays his fantastic falsetto voice in "What If?" as he contemplates losing his sister to her boyfriend. Jonah does a splendid job and steals many a scene especially when he screams as Wednesday tortures him. Nicholas Schiavo has many funny moments as Lurch but finally displays his voice in the closing song at the end of the show. Playing the normal parents are Gabriel Jolicoeur and Anna Hughes as Mal and Alice Beinke who might not be so normal after all. Mal wants his son to marry Wednesday while Alice spouts poetry until she is given a potion to drink which brings out her dark side. She stops the show with her solo section of "Full Disclosure" as her voice soars off the charts. Kudos to the whole cast and crew for doing a marvelous job on this musical. So for a trip back to the mysterious, spooky and kooky world of this family, be sure to catch "The Addams Family" before Uncle Fester blasts off to the moon. Tell them Tony sent you.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY (19 to 22 January)
Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, Thespian Troupe 7444, RISE Playhouse, 142 Clinton St, Woonsocket, RI

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