The RCS has brought The Addams Family to Assembly Hall in its Edinburgh Fringe debut, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The dark and imposing set, complete with large iron gates, creates an excellent air of Addams before the show has even begun. The opening number, ‘When You’re an Addams’, is absolutely brilliant: the ensemble carry off the perfect cross between macabre and enticing.
The action takes a while to get going: with the main conflict of Wednesday’s swift nuptials having been established within the first 20 minutes, it does look as if the musical has nowhere else to go. However, as soon as the Beinekes reach the house for dinner the action really takes off. The chaos of the dinner scene is excellently executed, and sequences are as visually exciting as the musical accompaniments.
The ensemble is incredibly well-cast: although I was initially confused by the female Lurch, her solo at the end is surprisingly enchanting. Martin Murphy’s Gomez is a great mix of silly flirting and genuine compassion toward his wife and his daughter. His rendition of ‘Happy/Sad’ had me welling up at his gentle sadness which he was taking in his stride. Likewise, Suzanne Boreel handled Morticia well, even though she didn’t have too much scope in the script to be anything other than disapproving for the majority of the musical. However, her relishing in the awkwardness of the family’s ‘Full Disclosure’ game was delightful. The stand-out performance was from Hannah Howie as the initially reserved Alice Beineke. Her complete unravelling was fantastic, and her solo, ‘Waiting’, was show-stopping.
The score is a varied one, taking on many different styles with its own macabre twist. Sarah Haddath’s ‘Pulled’ is a strong solo number, and the ensemble piece ‘Full Disclosure’ will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The excellent numbers are accompanied by some impressive, if not terribly original, choreography. The audience favourite is definitely Gomez’s suggestion that they dance the “rigor mortis”. These dark jokes aren’t as heavy in the script as I would have expected, but with the madness of the Addams descending upon the Beinekes, it’s still a good fun exploration of the weirder families, and the similarities of relationships across the two households.
I would heartily recommend The Addams Family. It’s not exactly the musical I would have chosen, but it’s a fun-loving couple of hours which will leave you feeling nicely acquainted with Death’s more Latin soundtrack. Despite a slow start, the action picks up and with some brilliant musical numbers it makes a scream of a show.
The Addams Family is at Assembly Hall until 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For tickets and more information see the Edinburgh Fringe website.