The Addams Family is Morbidly Candid Fun! A Review

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Fri October 31st – 8:00pm
Sat November 1st – 8:00pm
Sun November 2nd – 2:00pm

Tickets Available through
The McPherson Box Office
625 Fisgard Street
Victoria, BC

No matter what the generation, the Addams Family has entertained many a reader or viewers in the form of its original one panel comic illustrations, television show, cartoon and movies. It’s latest incarnation includes a musical which toured before Victoria, BC’s Kaleidoscope Theatre decided to put on their own version for the 2014 Halloween season. This company teaches youths how to overcome some of life’s challenges — one of which includes finding each individual’s spark of life — and become stronger for it; as a result, The Addams Family Musical is a spectacular choice because its plot reveals how to deal with barriers, no matter where it comes from.

It’s morbidly candid humour was at the crux of what made this series popular and it outdoes The Munsters on a certain level where one product provided a bit of social commentary whereas the other was flat-out sitcom.

With The Addams Family, it’s engrained in just what they represent. Just what did series creator Charles Addams have in mind when he first created this oddball family? In this musical’s case, it’s Wednesday’s (Rachel Paxton) coming of age story. She has fallen in love with a regular young man, and together the music they make is nearly something out of a Disney production. Well, not quite. Pugsley (Emma Cherris Kelly) fears losing his big sister. Gomez (Roderick Glanville) and Morticia (Francesca Bitonti) think she’s not ready. Fester is in his own world (Darren Rathgaber) and Grandmama (Gouda Gabor) is rolling with it. Attached to this elderly character is a pet made to give nod to the fact that throughout the sitcom, various pets the children had were often seen. Instead of seeing them play with a bat, octopus or vulture, Grandma has fun with it.

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Gabor almost steals the show with her puppetry and getting the best laugh-out-loud lines. Rathgaber comes second with comic timing and everyone stands out in their musical numbers. The casting was spot on in finding excellent vocal talent to represent the uniqueness of what each family member means, and that includes having each of them represent a certain musical styling. More gender swapping is done with Emma playing Pugsley and that sells the character well. The surprise being saved is with Lurch (Brandon Challen). When this show is based on the touring version, a few numbers are nixed in favour for a smooth run time of approximately two hours (does not include intermission).

Standout numbers include “Trapped,” “Full Disclosure” and “The Moon and Me.” The choreography is excellent throughout and although there were minor technical problems (the video stuttered and one of the lights in the number did not turn fully on) in the Friday show, none of which affected the performance in the energy that was found. Paxton certainly delivered a noticeably split personality needed to show audiences her grim and happy sides. When she is with Lucas (Cody Miller), her boyfriend, her brighter side shows. The chemistry the two share works along with the other couples in this show. Although the number “Crazier Than You” did not quite work with the contrasting vocals, the rest of the show tunes certainly showed a range of musical genres ranging from, to name a few, swing, jump blues, jazz and vaudeville style infused numbers that vividly recalls the movies made from the 40’s ala where the Andrews Sisters often boogie woogied onto screen.

Even the dancers that graced the stage in minor roles helped sell the Addams Family experience. Most of which are Kaleidoscope students perhaps performing for the first time, and there were featured soloists. Chelsey Storteboom really stood out as the head maid that helps service the Addams Family with her ballet-like grace on stage. Other soloists included Kevin Barreca, Dorothy Eggenberger, Rebekah Janzen and Emil Mogensen.

When seeing this show, the original comics is fondly recalled more so than the 60’s television show. But no matter where the spectators are coming from, they will find that this show marks a crowning achievement for Kaleidoscope. They have pulled out all the stops in giving a rousing Broadway style show as best the McPherson Playhouse will allow. It would have been cool to see Fester really rocket off the stage and onto the balcony, but that isn’t possible. The stage lighting and projection elements gave this performance character much like the Addams. There’s even a bit of city-flavour in the form of in-jokes to make this Victoria show uniquely hilarious! If the demand is high, maybe an encore show might be considered after this weekend’s limited run.

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