BWW Review: THE ADDAMS FAMILY at PCPA
We Are All Addams'!
Before the first line of PCPA's The Addams Family had left the mouth of Gomez Addams (George Walker), my seatmate was already chuckling. And the laughs kept coming until the players took their bows to a standing audience. The cast's comic timing synchronized perfectly with Erik Stein's fluid staging for a frightfully fun evening.
The plot revolves around daughter Wednesday's (Jisel Soleil Ayon) plan for her family to accept her disappointingly normal fiance Lucas Beinecke (Tiago Santos). Wednesday knows her mother, Morticia (Melinda Parrett), will need convincing to approve of her marriage to such a well-adjusted young man. Wednesday's father, Gomez, plans a dinner during which his eccentric family will check all their spooky ways ("One Normal Night"). Throughout the night's events, Lucas' parents turn out to have some sizable quirks of their own; nothing goes as planned; and, in the truest tradition of comedy, all ends well.
Beautifully designed by Jason Bolen, the set takes inspiration from Charles Addams' original print cartoons from The New Yorker magazine. The scenic design of the Addams' house, with its gothic mansard roofs, sticks to grey and black tones, suggesting the inky lines of a cartoon sketch. The chorus of Addams' ancestors follows the living Addams throughout the show, serving as back-up dancers and singers in bigger musical numbers. Director Erik Stein makes use of the ancestors' presence to shift the set's staircases, which whirl about the stage as principal characters ascend them, accentuating emotional crescendos.
The show's duets heighten the romantic sentiment of the story. Gomez and his "Cara Mia" Morticia resolve their marital tension in an impassioned and comically timed tango number, "Live Before We Die." Lucas Beinecke and Wednesday prove their love for each other by teasing mortality in "Crazier than You," which is a comic spin on opera's Liebestod in which the lovers find ultimate consummation in death. Excellent performance and soaring vocals by Jennie Greenberry as Alice Beinecke enliven her character's transformation from a docile wife to a liberated woman.
If The Addams Family's dark comedy recalls the humor of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, its ending differs by enfolding everyone, normals and eccentrics alike, in the familial circle: "You are all Addams!" Indeed, we are.
This clever show plays at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria until July 27th and then moves to Solvang's Festival Theater on August 2nd, where it plays until August 25th.