Reviewed by Tatum Stafford
Following a successful run at the same theatre in 2021, Zealous Productions’ The Addams Family is back and darker than ever, in a remounted production (with a few fresh faces) at the Regal Theatre this July. And as someone who was unable to catch the first production, I am very glad I didn’t miss it this time around, as it was a fantastic night at the theatre.
Within the show, the recognisable characters of The Addams Family are as we know and love them, and there’s a simple plot: the ultra-gothic Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with a ‘normal’ boy named Lucas Beineke, and his parents haven’t yet met the Addams’. But once the Beineke’s arrive at the Addams’, all hell begins to break loose…
In a role he was seemingly born to play, Brendan Hanson delivers a magnificent and memorable performance as the cheeky and charming Gomez Addams. With every dramatic entrance he captivated the audience, and received raucous (and well deserved) applause at the end of each of his numbers. His wife Morticia, played with plenty of sass and a snake-like quality by Dixie Johnstone, provided a fantastic foil to some of Gomez’ wackier moments. The two were a very believable and likeable pairing.
Another charming pairing within the show are Georgia Unsworth (Wednesday Addams) and Matthew Arnold (Lucas Beineke, Wednesday’s soon-to-be fiancée). Unsworth’s beautiful voice was a treat to listen to in dynamic numbers like “Pulled” and “Crazier Than You”, and Arnold’s comedic chops were fantastic and on full display.
Other members of the kooky Addams family, including Elliot Peacock’s Pugsley, Tory Kendrick’s Grandma (Kendrick did a phenomenal job swinging in for the show’s opening night as Morgan Cowling was unfortunately out with COVID), Adam Perryman’s Lurch and Joshua Firman’s Fester were all as lovably strange as each other. Big props to Peacock for his beautiful scene work in the second act, and Firman for his hilarious commitment to one of the show’s more bizarre storylines towards its finale.
Lucas’ parents Alice and Malcolm were played with comic naviete by Rachel Monamy (who was an absolute tour de force in her solo “Waiting”) and Chris McCafferty, who was a joy to watch.
The ensemble of any show is incredibly important, but in this production, the eight ‘Ancestors’ were absolutely instrumental in ensuring the piece flowed as seamlessly and interestingly as it did. Massive kudos to the talented group, including Brandyn Kaczmarczyk, Manuao TeAtonga, Natasha Cove, Mia Simonette, Georgia McGivern, Tate Bennett, Xarna Chanel Rappold, and Allen Blachford (who also choreographed the show). The choreography was outstanding, and the ensemble had a palpable comradery that was so engaging to watch, no matter their role in any scene.
The production value of this show is outstanding. Sets and set pieces (designed by John Johnstone) are very cleverly moved and utilised, greatly assisting in moving the plot along at a steady pace, Victoria Wyatt’s costume design features so many incredible details (particularly on each of the Ancestor’s costumes), and the lighting design was intricate and gorgeous to look at.
The orchestra, led by musical director Joshua Haines, was triumphant, and received a lot of love from the audience when their position at the back of the stage was smartly revealed during the curtain call. Effective tech work also ensured that the blend between performers and instruments was seamless.
This production’s quality, cast and orchestra make it very clear why a remounting was a fantastic idea. A big congratulations to everyone involved; this is one production I hope no theatre fans in Perth have missed out on.