"The class of 2020 triumphantly maintain the standard"
Read Toby Stirling's full review of Addams Family production
The Addams Family - Lowther Pavilion - Review by Toby Stirling
The decision to stage the 2020 school musical at the Lowther Pavilion was amply justified on the opening night by a substantial audience and a top-class performance by the 45 strong cast from AKS, Lytham.
Central to the success are the assured performances of J Jay Ditchfield and Niamh Crean as Gomez and Morticia Addams. Both fully inhabit their contrasting roles, singing, acting and moving confidently and delivering lines often full of dark humour with relish. They dominate the show.
The production team, Michael Waterhouse, Martha Worthington and Adam Brown, have therefore to ensure that the rest of the principals in the utterly bizarre Addams family have their individual moments too.
They do so and oddness is made hugely appealing by Archie Sanderson as Pugsley, Kiera Knights as Uncle Fester and Eloise Bosworth as Grandma, whilst Fraser Burton is always comical as the zombie butler Lurch.
Emily Turpie is a nicely sassy Wednesday Gomez who, unexpectedly and to the displeasure of her mother, has fallen in love with the clean-cut Lucas, an all-American boy from Ohio – convincingly played by Oliver Akers.
She produces moments of genuine emotion in her relationships which importantly prevent the show from simply being a parade of bizarre characters. Ben Stanhope and Miranda Addy as Lucas’s “normal” parents are right on the money.
This is very much a high-tech 21st century spectacle, first seen on Broadway in 2010 and fully American in style, references and humour, though the wish to speak with truly American vowels and intonation causes some to deliver their one-liners too quickly. The show is superbly costumed with an elaborate set, spot-on costumes and sound, plus effective use of witty special effects.
The eleven piece professional band excel in the songs with a Latin American beat particularly and the enthusiastic audience cheered the ensemble number Full Disclosure and Morticia’s Just around the Corner which counteract a couple of somewhat gooey ballads.
AKS rightly prides itself on a long tradition of excellence in music and drama embracing Gilbert and Sullivan, Shakespeare, Brecht, Guys and Dolls and, last year, We Will Rock You. The class of 2020 here triumphantly maintain the standard.