Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 24, 2012

The Addams Family

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through Sunday, February 26, 2012
by Walter Haggerty

Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley, and, of course, Lurch, are all on hand at the Bushnell and the opening night audience for “The Addams Family” loved them all. And they deserved it! The cast is impeccable from start to finish including the actors performing the “normal” Beineke family, plus a ghastly-ghostly ensemble of grave escapee singer-dancers.

The show has been considerably reworked from its critically devastating New York run, with the story line revised and clarified, songs dropped, songs added and other changes. It would be a pleasure to report that the musical now has a great book and fantastic score, but that is too much to hope for. For most audiences familiar with the TV Addams clan, the current reincarnation will work just fine. It is funny with plenty of jokes. Reducing the amplification of the orchestra might help the audience hear all of them, especially the lyrics.

Douglas Sills gives Gomez heart to match his humor. Sara Gettelfinger plumbs the depths of Morticia to reveal the cares, concerns and love of a mother along with her ever-present dark side. Blake Hammond, by employing a modicum of restraint, resists stealing the entire show from the rest of the cast.

As the young lovers, Cortney Wolfson’s Wednesday, and Brian Justin Crum’s Lucas, give this oddly matched pair true credibility, particularly in dealing with their respective parents. Patrick Kennedy is disarming as he cheerfully submits to torture by his sister while plotting to derail her romance,

Resorting to the first bars of the television theme to launch the overture cued the audience that they were in comfortable territory. As to the individual songs, “When You’re an Addams” provided a welcome introduction. “Death is Just Around the Corner” and “The Moon and Me” each contributed to the humor of the evening, while ”Happy/Sad” introduced a rare tender moment. “Tango de Amor,” led by Gomez and Morticia, with the entire cast joining in, was the high point of the performance.

For an evening of laughs with a cast of zanies, and no message to interpret, “The Addams Family” is an innocent escape from reality performed with panache. Who needs more?