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BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at BDT Stage

The Addams Family has been playing BDT Stage in Boulder since November, but even though death is just around the corner for this show's run, it still manages to be everything but neat, sweet and petite. (Which is exactly what an homage to the classic family deserves.)

Directed by the show's own patriarch, Scott Beyette, the cast is well-built. Beyette and Alicia King lead the family with vigor as the feisty romantics Gomez and Morticia. Wayne Kennedy is a consistent chameleon nailing his portrayal of Fester, a surprising standout. Sarah Grover belts her face off and brings a fresh personality to the love-struck Wednesday. (Even if she's clearly a Katniss in Act 2; braid, bow and all.) Parker Redford was on as her boyfriend, Lucas (covering for Brett Ambler), so the cast was shuffled a bit, but he handled the part as his own with a goofy charm. Even Grandma (BDT vet Barb Reeves) gets to steal scenes with her one-liners. Casey Andree's lurch is towering deadpan perfection. The roles of Lucas's parents, Mal (Scott Severtson) and Alice (Joinie Brosseau) were cast perfectly for the pair, showcasing a mix of their comedic timing and impressive vocals. Pugsley is rotated between Ethan Leland and Owen Leidich. Even a thrilling assortment of Addams ancestors are revived to live before they die (again).

The plot isn't incredibly exciting, however. It's a story you've heard before--the normal family visits the weird family because their kids are in love, so the weird family has to be normal. But of course they're not. The story moves pretty predictably, and only a few of the show's songs are standouts. The trouble with Addams Family is it's a story about Wednesday, narrated by Fester, starring Morticia and Gomez, with bit parts from the others because they need to be there, too. There's an imbalance of who's the more important character, and it comes across a little messy. Despite the show's changes regionally since it played Broadway, there are still places where the show is altogether...ooky.

The show feels like a stretched out second act. It would have been fun to fill Act 1 with perhaps Wednesday meeting Lucas and trying to hide it from her family. Kick it off with some old-school Addams nostalgia before thrusting their world into the modern age. I feel like Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's book still isn't what it could be.

Despite the book's flaws, there's still a bewitching show happening. The talented cast keeps the energy high, and the production's technical elements are wonderfully kooky. Bob Hoppe's choreography is a blast, Linda Morkens costumes are excellently crafted a perfectly spooky, and a shout-out to Debbie Spaur's hair and wig design. Amy Campion's scenic design sets a spectacularly gloomy mood.

The Addams Family continues its run at BDT Stage (55th & Arapahoe in Boulder) through Feb 27. For ticketing and info, visit BDTStage.com, call (303)449-6000 or email BoxOffice@BDTStage.com.


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From This Author Chris Arneson