The Addams Family Musical
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Directed by Carly Fisher
Science Theatre UNSW
Reviewed on 18 August
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
The last time I was in the Science Theatre at UNSW was in the 1970s to see Easy Rider on a rippled cinema screen, so I made the pilgrimage with some nostalgia.
The Addams Family Musical was the New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS)
major production for the year.
All of your favourite characters were there - Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Pugsley,
Wednesday and Lurch. Add ten ghostly Ancestors, a “normal” family and an orchestra, and you have all of the ingredients for an enjoyable production, and it ended up being a wise choice.
This Addams Family was different from the 1960s television series and was set very much in the present day. In this version, Pugsley had experienced a significant growth spurt and Wednesday was in her late teens and being courted by Lucas.
Performing solidly were Aiden Kane (perhaps his parents’ nod to Boys Cry?) as Gomez and Lise Gluckman as Morticia, as was Chiara Middleton as Grandma, Jasper Bruce as Lurch and Sasha Cole as the gangling Pugsley. As Mal and Alice Beineke, Ryan Fogwell and Sinead Cristaudo perfectly channeled Brad and Janet Majors from The Rocky Horror Show.
As Lucas, Nyasha Nyakuengama could have come straight from Broadway; he had the pipes, the characteristics and the vocal inflections that are perfectly suited to American musicals.
Dave Collins’ Fester was delightful with his large personality, stage presence and topical asides.
Choreographer Chanel Cheung brought in some imaginative steps, and the big chorus number was a show stopper with some favourite moves from classic musicals. Cheung led from the front as one of The Ancestors that included Bec Caton.
Cheung and Director Carly Fisher managed to steer the performers around the vast Science Theatre stage so that it almost looked effortless, and Fisher skilfully identified the pivotal moments and pulled some nice performances out of the actors.
For me, the highlight was triple threat Lali Gill. As Wednesday, Gill exquisitely held the production together as the main plot’s central character and her singing voice was breathtaking. My companion on the night and I have performed in professional musical theatre and we were reassured to know that the future of Australian musicals is in good hands.
Apparently, following her Diploma of Musical Theatre, Gill is now studying floristry. To combine the two talents, her performing future might be limited to Little Shop of Horrors.