Review - The Addams Family at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

The Addams Family
The Addams Family

Anyone entering the theatre to watch this musical comedy might have expected a B movie style night of entertainment.

And while there is nothing wrong with those kind of movies, there's a lot more going on this show and is packed full of emotion.

Les Dennis and the ensemble

Les Dennis and the ensemble

Wednesday Addams, that grotesque prepubescent who's joy in life comes from torturing her brother, has started to grow up and has fallen in love. With shock horror, a normal boy. And not only they are engaged. But is a union that may well tear apart the entire Addams Family.

There's so much sumptuous detail to admire in this production, right from the costumes and through to the set, all perfectly creating a gothic ambience which feels absolutely right for the show. The make up for the characters and the ensemble is perfect and Les Dennis is unrecognisable as Uncle Fester.

But despite the show being packed full of horror, there's lots of heart. It speaks volumes about the state of every relationship with lovers and other family members. Though it is irresistibly wrapped up in such a morbid sense of humour.

When any show brings the emotion centre stage, then you are reliant on the one special effect that you can't solve with production. Fortunately the acting is excellent from start to finish. Cameron Blakely's Gomez is just a delight to watch and Carrie Hope Fletcher can really belt out a tune as Wednesday. The dark and tormented soul established in the movies is still there, but in among this is a playfulness which feels brand new for the character and is absolutely right.

It's a pretty good cast and the energy the ensemble put in, many of them wearing some costumes which are a challenge to dance in, is phenomenal. A little note for Dickon Gough's Lurch who's comic timing is impeccable. Especially when he... well, it's best not to ruin the surprise.

You can normally tell whether you are going to like a show within the first few seconds and from the opening click of the fingers and the familiar opening tune, this is a production which is very true to the original cartoons, TV series and films, and yet absolutely moves it in a new direction.

My only disappointment, and it is a very minor gripe, is that it would have been wonderful to have had the theme song from the TV series, but otherwise, this is a very very enjoyable night of entertainment. Who knew the dead could have this much fun.

The Addams Family runs until Saturday May 13. For tickets call the box office on 01604 624811 or www.royalandderngate.co.uk.