Review: The Addams Family at the Birmingham Hippodrome

I didn’t used to ‘do’ musicals, but these days they’re so much a feature of the theatre scene I began to think maybe I was missing out, and The Adams Family – the Musical Comedy proves my instinct right.

A packed theatre on a Tuesday night with thousands of people laughing their heads off, applauding wildly and singing along proves there’s really something big going on – what’s not to like?

The Addams Family

The Addams Family

If you don’t know, The Addams Family musical is in the same vein as The Rocky Horror Show (and remember the Munsters?) with a plot that more than nods in the direction of La Cage Aux Folles – in other words a “straight” i.e. normal guy wants to marry into the weird supernatural-horror world of the Addams family, and it’s time for his parents to meet hers.

The result is on the huge scale with a marvellous cast, fabulous costumes, brilliant acting and singing and endless spectacular set pieces from solos to massive ensemble numbers plus special effects galore. In fact, it’s non-stop glamour. So what’s not to like?

Starting from a pretty broad gothic base it gradually grows to embrace every facet of the horror genre with its tongue marvellously in cheek, from poignant solo numbers, but always with a laugh, through to massive ensemble numbers that look as if they’re set to break the bank. It’s the send-up of all time with not a dull moment and Matthew White’s production shows exactly why it’s become a cult.

Among a crack cast Cameron Blakely is marvellously hammy as paterfamilias Gomez Adams, while Samantha Womack is wise-crackingly gorgeous as his vampiric wife Morticia. Carrie Hope Fletcher is their feisty daughter Wednesday while Grant McIntyre is their spare repulsive offspring, son Pugsley. Plus there’s the handsome Oliver Ormson providing the love interest, Lucas Beineke. Special mention must go to Dickson Gough as the enormous looming presence, Lurch.

But the real revelation is our very own Les Dennis as the slug-like monster Fester, unrecognisable in a fat suit, scene-stealingly marvellous in his poignant portrayal of this endearingly sad but comic character. I sat with a member of staff who can see it any night, watching on his night off, and I agree with his assessment – it’s brilliant.

Don’t miss it, it’s West Endy to a fault, but at Birmingham prices. Go see.

The Addams Family runs at the Hippodrome until Saturday (June 10). For tickets phone the box office on 0844 338 5000 or go online at www.birminghamhippodrome.com.

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