The Addams Family is an absolutely fantastic choice for a college musical; rampant in innuendo-fueled laughs, boasting a catchy yet surprisingly complex score and a fun dose of gothic aesthetic. Plus, if all else fails, it has the unique ability to lean upon audience nostalgia for its iconic source material. I was particularly excited to learn that St. Mary’s College would be tackling it in 2018, considering that despite its attractive qualities, The Addams Family seems to be seldom chosen when considered among other college favorites such as Legally Blonde, or god forbid Grease. The story of course revolves around the beloved Addams Family, but rather than track through another of their sadistic tales, the show focuses on Wednesday Addams as she uncannily falls into the clutches of not death…but love.
As mentioned, The Addams Family was a smart choice from the beginning and I’m glad to say that the production was also undeniably well cast. All actors, ensemble included, displayed a wonderful level of energy, stage presence and overall enthusiasm that is sometimes lacking in college productions. Everyone who graced the stage had a clear character and set intentions that led to some very funny interactions for the audience to witness if they paying attention beyond what was occurring centre stage. Standouts include Lachy John as Lucas Beineke who had what I can only describe as a simply divine voice and seemed to fit the character description so well I thought he may have just wandered off the street and onto the stage. Lochie Heeley was equally impressive, infusing his depiction of Uncle Fester with all the somehow simultaneous lovability and creep required of the role, even daring to prove his dedication and method acting approach to the role so far as to shave his head! Honorable mentions include Miranda Livingstone as Grandma Addams considering her terrific comedic timing caused a few tears of laughter to trickle, especially thanks to her ‘sandwich’ eating impression. Jack Shaddock showed a definite strength in acting as he portrayed Lucas’ father Mal Beinkeke, showcasing one of the best false American accents and general uninterested fatherly dispositions I’ve ever seen. Finally, Ruby Drummond rightfully commands the audience’s attention as everyone’s favourite cross-bow-wielding badass, Wednesday. Although at times she dropped out of accent and sometimes dodged higher notes (most notably in ‘Pulled’), she managed to exhibit a great deal of confidence on stage and as such really held the entire production together as a well deserved leading lady.
Musical Director Kelan Galbraith and the band must be mentioned as an absolute highlight of this production as they navigated The Addams Family’s sometimes tricky score with ease to produce a wonderful sound that I at first assumed was a backing track. Additionally, Set and Props designer Tom Faulkner deserves a commendation for his efforts in bringing every ex-emo kid’s angsty dreams to life. I can’t imagine sourcing an actual coffin was easy, nor a chair with the ability to skewer whomever sits on it, but I think the audience reactions were praise enough to prove the importance of including such iconic set pieces. Costume Designers Rebecca Francis and Dharani McDonald should also be applauded for their beautiful costuming, transforming every actor into their instantly recognizable television counterparts.
Overall, St. Mary’s The Addams’ Family was a very well produced college musical that earned a tremendous audience reaction. Itis entirely deserving of exclusive remembrance amongst other college musicals presented this year and a show that I hope to see produced again!
St Mary’s College’s production of The Addams Family ran from the 30th of August – 1st of September at the Union House Theatre.