Tuesday, October 6, 2015

theatre review - THE ADDAMS FAMILY - Desert Stages - October 2, 2015

(left to right) Mary Helen Labadie, Rob Dominguez, Jack Yampolsky,
Harmon Swartz, Janna Hanson, Kyle Chavira and Emily McAtee
photo: Wade Moran

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 1st.

 "The eccentric, gothic, macabre and kooky cartoon characters of the Addams family...found themselves on Broadway in a musical with Andrew Lippa supplying the fun, upbeat score and a comical, and even somewhat moving, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The combination of the appealing charm of the ghoulish characters with the love they have for each other and the funny situations they find themselves in work well for a musical comedy. Scottsdale Desert Stages presents an impressive production, with plenty of laughs and a very talented cast that brings this strange family to life on the stage....While the shows ends up being a fun and fairly quick moving production, it has a very simple plot and minimal conflict, and several of the musical numbers are forgettable. Fortunately, the book includes a never-ending string of jokes, with many hilarious one-liners expertly delivered by the very good DST cast, and several of Lippa's songs do succeed with clever, character specific lyrics. As Gomez and Morticia, Harmon Swartz and Janna Hanson are superb. They've both played these parts together before and have only grown in their ability to breathe plenty of life and nuance into this lovable twosome. ...Hanson and Swartz make not only a believable couple but realistic parents as well. (Emily) McAtee is very good as Wednesday. She is fierce and full of life, with exceptional delivery of her comic line readings. ...Director Jere Van Patten excels in bringing out the touching moments during the comical dialogue scenes, rich character portrayals and moments of lunacy, resulting in overall impressive direction. Angela Kriese's choreography makes good use of the large ensemble...Set designer Paul Filan has created a fairly elaborate design that surrounds the audience with ghoulish paintings of the Addams home and surrounding areas, a cob web covered staircase and sconces, and a large chandelier, plus several second story playing areas that serve effectively as the various rooms in the Addams mansion. ...With a fairly simple plot, a score with only a few memorable tunes, and the need for the audience to already have some familiarity with the characters, The Addams Family is far from a perfect musical. It also is a show with a large ensemble that never really serves a purpose except to exist for the mostly unnecessary and numerous dance numbers. However, the end result is a fun show that includes many memorable moments, thanks to the kooky characters and the witty book. With a very impressive cast and clear direction that ensures the comic moments pop, Desert Stages' production delivers." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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