Entertainment | Theatre Review: The Addams Family @ The Lyceum, Sheffield


Last night I caught the first Sheffield show of The Addams Family tour. Of course I was very excited to see it in action having watched Carrie Hope Fletcher's (Wednesday Addams) backstage vlogs over the past few months and it was all the fun I'd come to expect of it.

I'll make no bones about it, the story is nothing new. But nor does the show take itself too seriously, or kid itself that its plot isn't somewhat generic. Instead it laces itself with humour and a sense of fun having you leave the theatre satisfied that you've had a fabulous time there. Previous productions of the show have been accused of leaning too heavily on the recognition of its title characters. Whilst I imagine the characters' fame was certainly a helpful marketing tool (although, are the likes of Groundhog Day or The Lion King accused of such?) the show moved the characters forward, with the main change being that Wednesday and Pugsley are all grown up. Indeed, this was a show with themes of moving onwards and upwards, embracing new things and re-evaluating your traditions. So if stories are obliged to have an end moral, The Addams Family did not fall short on such a "duty".

One of the best things about The Addams Family as a whole is that even though they're a macabre, kooky bunch, beyond that they're a pretty regular family who argue and keep secrets just like any other, making for rather a relatable bunch of characters. Occasionally the sound tech went a little awry, with orchestra overpowering vocals but I'd put it down to a first-night hitch and in any case, it certainly didn't affect the brilliance of the show.

Cameron Blakely gives his Gomez Addams an exquisite charm, perfectly balancing between troubled family man and the confident lead of the show. He has such control of his stage presence that he commands attention when necessary but can easily tone it down to allow for another character. His chemistry with the other actors is so very believable whilst his mysterious accent never slips even in the middle of belting out a song. During his songs, he brings a real passion into his lyrics and accompanied by wonderfully sharp vocals, I didn't want Gomez's songs to end. Compared to cast recordings I've heard of previous productions, Blakely really stands out to me, bringing something new to the role that I can't quite pinpoint.

With Les Dennis currently away due to illness, his first cover, Scott Paige, took over as Uncle Fester. As a viewer of Fletcher's vlogs from this tour and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tour, I was already rather familiar with Paige's backstage antics and so was quite excited to see him onstage as Fester. He really brought buckets of fun and enthusiasm to the role, along with fourth-wall breaks reminiscent of an omniscient Shakespearean fool providing a much-appreciated structure to the show.

More honorary mentions must go to Samantha Womack, Charlotte Page, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson. Both Womack and Page portrayed the matriarchs of their families brilliantly, whilst Fletcher and Ormson's chemistry was hugely convincing even despite their obvious differences. Furthermore, these four - like the rest of the cast - had utterly impeccable vocals and kept their characterisation sharp all throughout their songs.

The costumes were simply brilliant, and I was particularly impressed with the attention to colour schemes. The Beinekes dressed in bright colours helped contrast them against the Addams in predominantly black, whilst the Ancestors' cool-toned outfits gave them a ghostly eeriness. All this helped each set of characters stand out and helped symbolise characters' movements (or attempted movements) towards different personality traits. The costumes were beautifully made, taking inspiration from older versions of The Addams Family but adding a more modern twist. A particular favourite costume of mine was the Ballerina Ancestor's. Honestly, I want that dress in my life.

A unique story or not, I was charmed by the characters and fell in love with the music. The Addams Family is a musical for those unconverted to musicals and a fun, casual night for the self-proclaimed thespians - filled with wit, laughter and a selection of catchy tunes.

The Addams Family is at The Lyceum, Sheffield until 16th September and completes its tour of the UK on 4th November, following which it travels to Singapore for a brief run. Dates can be found here.

P.S. I uploaded this on a Wednesday... geddit?