BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland
Reviewed by Sharon Hewlett
The opening night audience was enthralled from the first notes of the band to the last at Auckland Performing Arts Academy's 'The Addams Family'.
From the opening tableau it was clear that this show was going to be as polished and professional as to rival any adult company.
Director Alexandra McKellar, has assembled a group of such talented children it is easy to be swept away with the story and be transported to a faraway place where ancestors return from the dead, monsters live under the bed and you can fall in love with the moon.
Gemma Boswell's choreography is sharp and executed accurately by the large cast- quite a mean feat with the vast array of ages. It also allows moments for individual dance talents to shine with ballerina's and other dancers given moments of highlighted solo.
Musical directors Mark Bradley and Jane Horder have assembled a band that are accurate and disciplined. Their opening recognisable refrain of the theme tune engaging the audience from the first "click click".
Alongside the talented creative team are a team of industry professionals- both Acting and vocal tutors- who have worked with these children (John Callen, Jodie Dorday, Cherie Moore, Wendy Doyle, Jane Horder) and the fruits of their labours are evident on stage. This is a show I have seen many times and yet there is a freshness to the acting and singing I have not witnessed before.
The lighting of the show is impeccable and enhances every ghoulish detail and yet is bright and colourful in what can sometimes traditionally be a bleak show. The set allows for the children to be the main focus and is used well. The costumes, designed by Dannielle Farrell, are well executed- particularly in the vast array of ancestors in a neutral palette. The hair and make-up adds the finishing polish to the costumes and again is impeccable. It is hard to believe that this production company has only been on the scene for a year!
I was delighted to witness the 'Addams' cast on opening night- what an amazingly talented group. Will Lotawa (Gomez) and Amy Robertson (Morticia) were a formidable pair- both with the maturity of voice to carry these 'adult roles' with aplomb. Lotawa can be commended also for his considerable comedic timing and Robertson for her dance ability. Kate Sampson as the angst ridden Wednesday, was a delight to witness. Her acting never missed a beat and her vocal belt in "Pulled" could rival any Broadway recording. Caitlyn Brash as Pugsley was deliciously devilish and cute at the same time. It was easy to feel sorry for her that her sister wasn't torturing her in her rendition of "What If". Enrico Legall-Misikini as Fester, garnered some of the biggest laughs of the night and his ode to the moon was a visual masterpiece. The vocal surprises of the night were CJ Smart (Alice Beineke) and Patrick Cunneen (Lurch). When Smart had the opportunity to showcase her vocal power at the end of Act One it was jaw-dropping. What a voice. Cunneen as Lurch, maintained his composure throughout the whole show- not an easy feat, particularly when moving as slowly as Lurch does. But the true surprise was his rich bass tones as he led the finale. The ensemble never dipped in energy level- providing many 'visual feasts' of tableau and dance. Special mention must go to the 'conjoined twins' who were amusing and impressive to watch in all the dance numbers!
My only regret with this show is that I did not get to see the alternate 'Beineke Cast' as I am sure they are just as talented as the Addams cast.
This show is on for a limited season but my advice is if you have children who love the performance arts, this is a company that is offering excellent training and performance opportunities- look them up!
Find them at: https://apaa.nz/