Randolph Academy’s latest production, The Addams Family – The Musical, opened to a pretty packed house earlier this week, bringing the hijinks and horrors of everyone’s favourite morbid family to the Annex Theatre stage in Toronto. Randolph’s latest graduating class brings great energy in their portrayal of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Lurch and the rest of the gang.
The story puts Wednesday in a precarious position with her family. She’s fallen in love with Lucas, a perfectly ordinary boy, and has invited him and his parents to the Addams residence for dinner so both families can meet — and the young couple can announce that they’ve (secretly) gotten engaged.
Trust, the deep-rooted bonds of family, and the age-old question of “What is normal?” all get tossed around with the usual Addams Family kookiness, but this time with singing!
I’m not sure I’m sold on the musical adaptation, I was a little disappointed to find that there weren’t any really catchy tunes or melodies that stuck out for me. I find the best musical theatre leaves you humming for days after and while the music was fine, it wasn’t memorable. That being said, this production had a great live band which I very much appreciated.
I think it must be especially difficult for an actor to play a role that’s so well-ingrained in popular culture, but the cast of Randolph’s The Addams Family do an impressive job of taking these quintessential characters and making them their own.
I was most impressed by the duo of Matt Lacas and Shannon Tosic-McNally as Gomez and Morticia Addams. Each brought something a little different to their roles, without deviating from the essence of each character. Lacas is suave and debonair, with just the right amount of goofball, and Tosic-McNally is sexy, snide and embodies the great passion that’s so pivotal to Morticia’s personality. Together, they’re dynamite.
I also have to commend Ryota Kaneko’s Lurch and Cindy Goh’s Grandma, each had really impeccable comedic timing and dazzled as the supporting cast. Shout outs to costume designers Alex and Carmen Amini, who had Kaneko lurking across the stage in gigantic, chunky, clunky platform shoes like nobody’s business.
Vocally, I was a little surprised that the lead actors weren’t as strong as I was expecting. That’s not to say that their singing was mediocre, it was fine, but there were some characters with songs that required some extra power that they had some trouble delivering. On the flipside, there was one lovely operatic voice in the chorus of dead Addams ancestors that occasionally stuck out a little too much during the group numbers.
I thought Rosie Callaghan as Alice Beineke had the clearest, strongest voice, and I’m glad she had a chance to show it off close to the end of Act 1.
Admittedly, this was my first time in the Annex Theatre so I don’t have much to compare this production to, but I did think set designer Amanda Wong’s use of the space was wonderful. Using the theatre’s own wood finishes and staircases, the set truly measured up to the gaudy, old world gloom of the Addams house.
As much as I think the musical itself is a little weak, this production is a lot of fun. The cast is energetic, dynamic and hilarious and for that reason alone, I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a ghoulishly good time.
- The Addams Family – The Musical is playing until December 5, 2015 at the Annex Theatre (730 Bathurst Street)
- Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, Friday at midnight and Saturday matinee at 2pm
- Tickets are only available for the Friday, Dec 4 midnight show and can be purchased online
Photo of Matt Lacas and Shannon Tosic-McNally. Provided by Randolph Academy.