Review: ‘The Addams Family’ at Alliance Theatre

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

Director Leslie Anne Ross has once again succeeded in assembling an outstanding cast superbly led by Jim Mitchell as the suave and debonair Gomez and Grace McCarthy as the intoxicating Morticia, to give the audience a fun-filled evening of sheer entertainment at The Alliance Theatre in Centreville, VA.

The musical, The Addams Family has music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Erin Campagnoni’s musical direction, coupled with the magic baton of David Jaynes and the orchestra would put a smile on Tony-nominated Lippa’s face. The cast was magnificently choreographed by Jonathan Fair, with the assistance of Chris Rios, who did a yeoman job of making use of the space at the venue. Lighting and sound design by Noah Fraize and Stacy King, respectively only worked to enhance the production.

Meet the Addams family: From left are Uncle Fester (Mike Cash), Morticia (Grace McCarthy), Pugsley (Noah Tajudeen), Gomez (Jim Mitchell), Lurch (Joey Olson), and Wednesday (Lucia LaNave). Photo Courtesy of David Jaynes

Meet the Addams family: From left are Uncle Fester (Mike Cash), Morticia (Grace McCarthy), Pugsley (Noah Tajudeen), Gomez (Jim Mitchell), Lurch (Joey Olson), and Wednesday (Lucia LaNave). Photo Courtesy of David Jaynes

Addams Family affectionadoes will have a field day noting some of the comedic touches which have been handed from cartoon show, to television to the stage. Leslie Anne Ross and Mona Kay were masterful in their set and scenic design of the family dilapidated and spooky old mansion complete with cob webs, moose head, candelabra, stairway and lifelike statue (Sarah Akers).

The costume design by Sabrina Chandler and hair and make-up by Hannah Tawil rivaled that of the television show. The dark and brooding look of the entire family as seen on television has been remarkably transferred to the stage in this production.

Although there is something odd around the macabre Addamses cavorting and bursting into song, musical theatre is over-the-top, and what could be more over-the-top than a death-obsessed family singing and dancing their way around the stage. What is for certain, Alliance Theatre’s talented cast sings, dances, sneers, skulks and thrills the heck out of this production. An interesting part of this production’s effectiveness is the presence of many dead ancestors meandering through the show silently and effectively commenting on what is happening among the “live” folk.

The plot is simple. Wednesday (Lucia LaNave) is all grown up, and has fallen in love with a normal guy, Lucas Beineke (Nick Ingargolia) of Ohio. The storyline centers around the meeting of the Addams Family and Lucas’s parents (Billy Clay and Cheryl Bolt), an obvious recipe for disaster – or is it? The family pro-romance faction is surprisingly led by Uncle Fester, charmingly played by Mike Cash.

Songs are pleasant, but not after-the-show hummable. There is an especially fun scene when Uncle Fester declares he is in love with the moon, singing “The Moon and Me.”

Some of the energy lost by slower numbers is quickly regained by the riotous antics of the Ancestor Chorus, Pugsley’s (Noah Tajudeen) hilarious and malicious affection for his sister and some well-placed scene stealing by the ever faithful Lurch (Joey Olson), and of course the family matron, Grandma (Kathy Morton Young).

Morticia (Grace McCarthy) and Gomez (Jim Mitchell). Photo Courtesy of Sonia Downard.

Morticia (Grace McCarthy) and Gomez (Jim Mitchell). Photo Courtesy of Sonia Downard.

Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with an intermission.

The Addams Family plays through Sunday, May 15, 2016 at The Alliance Theatre performing at Mountainview High School – 5775 Spindle Court, in Centreville, VA. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.

The review is by Harry Kantrovich.

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