‘Hilariously Macabre Yet Beautifully Performed’ – Music Theatre’s The Addams Family

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To say Music Theatre’s production of The Addams Family ‘sprang into life’ from its first moments would be a disservice to the hilariously macabre yet beautifully performed show the society put on. From the instant the live band kicked up the first notes of the opening song “When You’re an Addams”, the musical moved from strength to strength as it captivated the audience with both perfectly belted show tunes and gruesomely witty humour.

Co-Director’s Ronan Pilkington and Emily Taylor did a whole lot right with this musical, from the full advantage they took of Pyramid Theatre’s space with their character entrances and the placement of the band at the back of the stage to their coordination with Musical Director Jeorgie Brett, assisted by Rebecca Heffer. The entire show had an air of professionalism to it, as if it was being performed on broadway and not at the Leeds Student Union.

Casting a play this late in the academic year must have come with its own set of challenges and stresses; having to dedicate oneself to a play right before exams must seem like a daunting task but despite this fact the casting remained outstanding. The leads Gomez and Morticia were played much younger by Joseph Callaghan and Lydia Duval than that of the original casting, and with this injection of youth and vitality jokes that I found falling flat in the original landed with aplomb and an extra measure of cheek in the Music Theatre Society’s rendition. Every character carried the play with strength, without a single weak member on the cast. From Uncle Fester’s (played by Barnaby Howe) brilliant costume design and winning charm to the deep bass surprise of Lurch’s (Killian Lines) solo in “Move Towards the Darkness”, each character’s acting abilities were rivalled only by their singing.

Normally during a performance one or two moments stand out above the rest, but Music Theatre’s The Addams Family seemed almost to be composed out of standout moments to the point of it being almost impossible to boil down to a single one. Uncle Fester running round with a backpack on trying to reach a moon projected onto a screen got as much of a hearty laugh out of myself as it did the rest of the audience, but so did the Grandma’s part (played by Em Humble) in “Full Disclosure”. It wasn’t just the comedic timing that was excellent; whilst the entire cast had very strong voices, it was the voice of Wednesday Addams that caught my attention. Played by Dalia Kay, Wednesday showed off the full range of her singing abilities in “Pulled” when the song’s final crescendo built up to a perfectly hit last note that brought a thunderous applause out of the audience.

In the days following the performance, I’ve found myself absentmindedly singing some of my favourite songs from the show to myself. If I had one complaint it was that sometimes the band drowned out the cast but it is such a small complaint that pales in comparison to how good the rest of the show was that writing it down almost makes me feel bad for nitpicking. Regardless of this fact though, the show was absolutely incredible; with strong performances from everyone, its success is absolutely a team effort.

Image Courtesy of LUU Music Theatre Society