Maliciously, deliciously, delightfully, disgustingly fun!

REVIEWAddams Family - roncalli - small

Dah-na-na-nuh! *click click*
Dah-na-na-nuh! *click click*
Dah-na-na-nuh! Dah-na-na-nuh!
Dah-na-na-nuh! *click click*

That’s all you need to hear and you are instantly transported into the world of Roncalli College’s latest musical.

The musical of The Addams Family features an original story and it’s every father’s nightmare.  Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have not met.  She begs her father not to tell her mother.  Now Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done – keep a secret from his beloved wife Morticia.  Everything changes on the night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s respectable boyfriend and his parents.

Wednesday Addams may be a young woman being “pulled in a new direction” and experiencing true love for the first time yet she’s also still a girl who likes to go for long walks in the park at night with a crossbow.  Catherine Ward managed to bring both sides out at the same time, and most interestingly, sometimes even in the same beautiful (but slightly maniacal) smile.

Much has been written about Alex Gourdie dislocating his knee recently and apparently none of it read by me.  So I took his portrayal of Gomez Addams with a cane as the way it was meant to be.  Such was the completeness of his characterisation.  In fact I suspect the limitation made him draw from a deeper well as an actor.  And it is totally worth it.  He is on stage often and at all times it seemed like he is really enjoying a role that he is just right for.

Behind every great man there’s a great woman and for Gomez it is Morticia - his l'amour de sa vie (or should that read l'amour de sa mort?).  Kate Esler plays the real head of the family in a beautifully controlled manner.  Smiles are... rare... lest they ruin her beauty (crow’s feet anyone?)  Yet she brings a passion to the proceedings and in a delectable tango it is easy to see why Gomez would be utterly lost without her love.

Let’s not talk about anything else but love is the request from Uncle Fester as played by Alec Muir.  And the best kind of love is always the unrequited kind.  So when the object of your desire is the Moon (yes, you read that correctly) then all the ingredients are in place for a romance that is strangely surreal and yet compellingly beautiful.  Fester also manages to feature in a video segment during which I overheard an audience member reacting with “Quite weird... but lovely!”  She was right – it was.

If I describe Puggsley Addams as a malicious little toad please take that as a positive.  Because last night Luke Robb was maliciously, deliciously, delightfully, disgustingly fun to watch as a little brother wrestling with the fact that his sister is growing up and might not be able to play anymore.

These central characters are more than ably supported by the actors around them with some very fine turns in some very small parts.  Luke Elsen as Lucas Bienecke (the new boyfriend), Alex McCoid and Jo Bennett as the Bienecke parents (future in-laws) and a highly amusing return to the stage for Kate Elsen as Grandma Addams made for a fun night.  And the ever present ensemble cast (the Ancestors) brought a fabulous mix of Greek chorus and living scenery to the proceedings and really filled out the sound vocally when required.

They always say to save the best for last and if the old adage is true - that less is more - then Ben Donaldson’s portrayal of the butler Lurch gave us a master class performance.  There are a couple of times where he absolutely steals the show with an ability to keep the entire audience in fits of laughter whilst acting entirely at a speed akin to treacle.  Really cold treacle.  Seriously, glaciers move faster.

It has been many, many years since Roncalli College has staged a full musical and based on tonight’s performance that’s a real shame.  They should do them more often.  Congratulations to Alice Sollis, Ella Thomas, Chante Cooper, and the rest of the behind-the-scenes team for a job well done.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re all together ooky,
The Addams Family.

Yes they are.  And you should buy a ticket right now and visit them.

-Aaron Williams

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