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Rousing fun with The Addams Family

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Let the games begin: from left, Jennifer Osmond-Campbell as Morticia, Philip Barnett as Gomez and Megan Zimmerer as Wednesday in The Addams Family, on now at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

After a long hiatus, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda is back on the stage with the hit Broadway musical The Addams Family.

And what a great way to say, we’re back …

The Addams Family was rousing fun, and worth the ticket cost. Everything from the lights to the sound, music, costumes, choreography and make-up, was fabulous.

The musical kicked off at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall on Wednesday with a private showing for drama students in Bermuda’s secondary schools.

The students had a blast, laughing uproariously at the jokes, and cooing at any romantic gestures in the story.

Getting approval from a roomful of eye-rolling teenagers is an accomplishment for anyone.

Meet the grandma: Che Cannonier Barker as Mal, Lucy Russell as Alice and Johnae Tucker as Grandma, in The Addams Family, on now at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The story revolved around Wednesday Addams (Megan Zimmerer) who wants to marry Lucas (Rian Michelsen), a rather square guy she met in the park. Uncle Fester (Owain Johnston-Barnes) makes it his mission to get the love birds together. But their relationship causes stress between Wednesday’s parents Gomez (Philip Barnett) and Morticia (Jennifer Osmond-Campbell).

Lucas’s conservative parents, Mal and Alice Beineke, (Che Cannonier Barker and Lucy Russell), are not happy either. Mayhem ensues when the families meet, and Morticia insists they “play a little game”. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley, (Jayden Smith) is playing a dangerous, and hilarious, game of his own. Be very afraid!

Mr Barnett and Ms Osmond-Campbell are veterans of the local stage and are always fun to watch. They may be remembered from their performances in G & S’s Annie in 2018.

My only criticism was Mr Barnett’s “Spanish” accent. It was cute, but definitely not Spanish. In fact, it sounded suspiciously like Gru’s Russian accent in the movie Despicable Me. But it worked, kind of. At least it was consistent.

Other actors included Johnae Tucker as grandma and Winton Brangman as Lurch. They deserve a round of applause.

But the star of this show, was definitely Owain Johnston-Barnes. As Uncle Fester, he stole the stage from the main leads and showed what a versatile comedic actor he is. Very impressive!

Outstanding comedic acting: Owain Johnston-Barnes as Uncle Fester (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The lead, Ms Zimmerer, a reinsurance analyst by day, shone as a singer. Her rendition of Pulled In A New Direction was a wow moment during the show. Let’s hope we see more of her in future G&S productions.

Warning: these songs are catchy little ear worms. Theatre-goers will be humming One Normal Night, for a long, long time. Credit for the music and lyrics go to Tony-nominated composer Andrew Lippa.

The story was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice of Jersey Boys fame. And the writing was clever. There were a lot of great lines in this musical. My favourite was: “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is a chaos for the fly.”

Another great moment was when Uncle Fester described Wednesday as so full of malice “she would poison her own brother just to get a ride in the ambulance”.

However, there were some elements of the plot that felt dated. Why is the malicious Wednesday’s only goal to get married, at a time when marriage rates are plunging? Where are her plans to take candy from babies on a national scale, or win Sniper of the Year? Lucas’s father, Mal, calls the Addams leftist radicals, but ‘Victorian’ feels more accurate. What happened to the “bad-ass feminism” that Wednesday and Morticia are known for? That was disappointing.

Another problem was the way that Gomez makes unwanted sexual advances to Mal. In today’s #MeToo world, that is more cringe-inducing than funny. It also undermines the idea that despite their temporary differences, Morticia and Gomez are deeply devoted to each other. Gomez, at least, isn’t that devoted, apparently.

But those were just minor issues.

The Addams Family runs from now until October 15 at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall in Hamilton with matinees at 2pm and evening shows at 7pm. Tickets are $65, available at bit.ly/3DhoHlT or on www.ptix.bm.

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Published October 08, 2022 at 7:33 am (Updated October 08, 2022 at 4:42 pm)

Rousing fun with The Addams Family

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