The Addams Family is certainly becoming a hot favourite among amateur theatre companies this year, with Melbourne audiences being spoilt for choice after missing out on the professional production’s short-lived Aussie stint. With the influx of Addams comes a new generation of fans, invigorating the franchise and breathing a modern life and relevancy into the family. CPAC’s iteration of this popular production mirrors much of what has become the Addams standard stagecraft that theatregoers have come to expect of the show. It was obvious that those who had not experienced this kooky family on stage before were enthralled by what was presented to them, particularly the children in the audience, whose audible wonderment and commentary signalled great interest.
The direction was safe and predictable, but certainly allowed for the creepy vibe and strength of the family bond to surface. The use of space did not always compliment the relationship between the audience and those on stage, particularly when the action would be brought forward in front of a closed curtain. In doing this, there was a real sense of being in a theatre, watching actors on a stage, so silly things washed over the audience, rather than being immersed in the spooky Addams world. Perhaps, some careful plotting of lights to isolate the elements of the stage, to create the illusion of location could have been implemented, so as to not have to use this focus pulling technique. Some scene transitions were also a little clunky and long-lasting.
The musical direction was generally very good, with an obviously very competent orchestra. Some cast harmonies sounded a little messy and unsure which was a little disappointing. In saying that, in most instances all involved were very much able to pick themselves back up and fix their mistakes, which is a skill commendable in its own right. Sound quality proved an issue for much of the performance, rendering some cast hard to hear.
Choreography was simple and, for the most part, was executed well. The styles were appropriate and the expectations of the cast seemed to have been well-calculated for their individual abilities. Some of the dance numbers did seem to lack quite a bit of energy and commitment from the cast, however at times this did actually breathe character into the performance, due to the gloominess that is often associated with the Addams.
Lighting was often distracting, particularly due to a lack of face light and instances when there was just too much haze. The design did come across as a little uninspired, but served its purpose and definitely gave the dark and mysterious feel that is necessary for the show.
In terms of performances, the cast was relatively consistent, though at times lacked some conviction and energy.
Josh Ide as Gomez was suave and comical and showed true commitment to his characterisation. His interactions with Genya Mik (Morticia) were very convincing. Mik’s Morticia was the right concoction of sass, sultriness and apathy. It is all too easy for a character like Morticia to be played as entirely lacklustre, which in turn becomes very boring to watch. Luckily, Mik’s performance was beautifully configured to maintain engagement and encourage intrigue.
The relationship between Wednesday and Lucas (Emily Hansford and Lucas Neale) felt a little forced and the chemistry between the pair did not inspire a further connection with the audience. This was a little jarring due to the whole premise of the show hanging on this young love. The pair did come into their own during ‘Crazier than You’ which was a certain crown favourite. In saying this, their final harmonies, upon the introduction of the Beineke parents, were very difficult to hear, which quite a shame was.
I definitely think that the character of Alice Beineke is the unsung hero of The Addams Family. The character is a real hoot and audiences very much respond to her. Miranda Barron did well to do the character justice. Her comedic timing was very much enjoyed. It would have been amazing to have seen a greater contrast during “Full Disclosure”, as Alice’s psychosis is perhaps one of the best patts of the entire show, though Barron did provide a very consistent performance.
The ensemble were a little inconsistent throughout the piece, with many of them disregarding the type of ancestor they were assigned. At times, the energy lulled, but when the group worked well as a collective, the energy was infectious.
If you haven’t seen The Addams Family on stage before, it is worth heading to Cardinia to see what all the fuss is about.