**** Recommended The Drama Group production of The Addams Family is fun, fun, fun! Audiences are loving the show! The talented cast has totally embraced the Addams zaniness. Director Tyler McMahon has the cast playing these already over-the-top characters relatively straight, adding to the crazy! The costumes are spot-on, the set is equipped with all the latest torture devices – and a hidden passage or two. Throw in a disembodied hand, swash-buckling swordsmanship and a taste of tango and you have the recipe for an Addams hit. A tiny warning, you’ll only hear that signature Addams finger snap in the overture. 4 Spotlights
If you saw the Broadway-bound preview in 2009, you might remember that it just wasn’t funny. That show forgot a basic premise – that the inherently bizarre Addams family are very funny, all by themselves! After the Broadway run, the show was extensively rewritten to return to that signature zaniness, even rewriting the songs.
The patriarch of the family, Gomez Addams (Xavier Barham) is devoted to his wife, Morticia (Rose McReynolds). Fortunately, Barham is also fight coordinator, since he’s often found with a sword in his hand. McReynolds has Morticia’s deadpan face, arm fold and distinctive walk down pat. In addition, she has a wonderful contralto voice. I though she sounded a little like Cher.
Although Wednesday, played with marvelous deadpan by Abriella Caravette, regularly tortures her brother, Pugsley (Emma Froeschle), she’s smiling – something that has everyone in the family worried! After the family and their ghostly ancestors celebrate what it is to be an Addams, Uncle Fester (Michael Behrens) locks the crypt gate, forcing the ancestors to help him help Wednesday.
Wednesday tells Gomez that she’s fallen in love with a normal boy, Lucas Beineke (Andrew Pappas), and she’s invited him and his parents for dinner. After swearing him to secrecy, she said she wants to marry Lucas.
The Addams household is in a tizzy preparing for this dinner party. Although Lurch (J.R. Willard-Rose) does most of the work, Morticia does don an apron. Suspicious that Gomez is hiding something, Morticia decides their marriage is doomed.
Grandmama (Alicia Cuccia), an aging flower child who reminisces about Woodstock, has a cart full of hallucinogens. Pugsley palms a potion that will bring out someone’s dark nature which he plans to give Wednesday at the dinner. By the way, when Gomez and Morticia compare notes, they discover she might not be a relative after all!
When the guests arrive, we learn that Mal Beineke (Brandon Willard-Rose), doesn’t want to be there, while his wife, Alice (Angel Mirkov), a repressed housewife who converses in rhymes, tries to smooth things over. After dinner, still furious at Gomez, Morticia insists they play ‘the game’, Full Disclosure. Pugsley adds the potion, but the drink goes to Alice by mistake. Mirkov, who has a fabulous voice, was hilarious as Alice lets loose!
Also joining the party, Cousin Itt (Margie Hess) and Thing (Ben Froeschle)
Uncle Fester brought down the house with his serenade to his true love, The Moon and Me. Another highlight, the dramatic Tango De Amor danced by Gomez and Morticia. More memorable songs - When You're an Addams, Where Did We Go Wrong?, Full Disclosure, Crazier Than You and Move Toward the Darkness.
The Addams family ancestors: Egyptian (Lamari Brock), Twin #1 (Payton Candiano), Puritan (Amelia Chavez), Cowgirl (Elaina Dague), Flapper (Rachel DeBoer), Regency (Sol Delgato), Aunt Herman (David Ford), Bride (Jaedyn Long), Jester (Gabe McKinney), Punk Rocker/Grim Reaper (Thomas McMahon), Twin #2 (Sadie Montoya), Caveman (Cruz Pierce), Founding Father (Julian Solis) and Pirate (Rowan Willard-Rose).
The Addams Family runs through October 15th at the Drama Group, 330 202nd Street, Chicago Heights. Parking is free. Performances are Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 & 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2:00 pm. FYI (708) 755-3444 or www.dg.booktix.com