REVIEW: “The Addams Family” is a glimpse into eternal ghoulishness
APU premieres the uncanny musical showcasing humor, love and sheer talent.
The Addams family poses for the camera. Photo courtesy of Larry Sandez.
Ba Da Da Dum. *Snap Snap.*
It all began with Charles Addams’ original black-and-white cartoons found within the pages of The New Yorker. Then suddenly, many adaptations of the kooky and spooky Addams family surfaced, leading to its first step onto the Broadway scene in 2010. The beloved and nostalgia-filled story has now been adapted to the Azusa Pacific Warehouse Theatre stage.
APU premiered the charming yet ghostly musical of “The Addams Family” on Thursday night. It runs until April 14. With Director Gary Krinke’s creative vision, Ray Limon’s choreography and Jennifer Wilcove’s musical direction, the production was nothing short of a grand and ghoulish night.
Before the curtain lifted, lights were dim, headstones lined the stage, stone blocks built an eerie entrance and “The Addams Family” was projected onto the black curtain in a lime green font. This elegantly crafted set awaited the arrival of the chilling world of the Addams family.
Once the show commenced, the audience soon got a better taste of the ins and outs of the family.
In “The Addams Family,” joy is pain, love is hate and beauty is disgustingly repulsive. But the scariest part of all is when Wednesday Addams, played by Camryn Burns, daughter of Gomez and Morticia Addams, falls in love –– with an Ohio boy named Lucas, played by Zachary Voss. Entranced by Lucas’ charm, Wednesday begins to act in a strangely uncanny manner –– she acts happy. The nightmare continues when she decides to bring Lucas and his family home for dinner. Following the plea for her family to give her one normal night, the intensity, humor and love only grow throughout the entirety of the musical.
While the plot holds enough spark to draw in each attendee, the comedy is what drives it home.
Laughter echoed throughout the theater, as the play made all attendees –– regardless of their age –– erupt in fits of giggles. Fester, played by Caleb Harbin, the brother of Gomez, can be seen doing the floss, while Gomez, played by Sam Bixby, and Morticia, played by Chelsea Johnson, make sensual innuendos throughout the show. This scattered level of humor made it relatable and enjoyable for all who watched.
“The humor was all over the place in a good way,” said Madison Lucas, a senior art major. “There were fourth-wall breaks and timely references to pop culture. I know the show the musical was based off of is really old, but the humor made it seem more in our time period.”
This humor paired perfectly with the underlying meaning of love within relationships. The many different layers of love, like the bond of a father and daughter, the advice of a grandmother and the admiration between two lovers, exemplified the importance of those who are closest to you. This sentiment flooded the theater, because even if Pugsley, played by Marcos Garcia, tried to alter the course of his sister’s life, or if Morticia was against the love of Wednesday and Lucas, the family always came back together.
Gomez Addams (Sam Bixby) in Gary Krinke’s production of “The Addams Family.” Photo courtesy of Larry Sandez.
Without perfect execution by the cast, none of this would have been possible. Each actor put on an impeccable performance of their own.
Bixby brought Gomez to life by fully surrendering to his character. The Latin accent, exemplary mustache and insurmountable love for his family shone through in every scene.
“I found Sam Bixby’s physical comedy to be especially excellent. He embodied the character with style and energy,” said Rachel Woodruff, an undeclared freshman.
Johnson also crafted Morticia in an elegant manner, strutting her sophisticated poise while singing, dancing and reciting her lines. And Harbin, who played the audience favorite of Fester, danced around the theatre with an exhilaration only passion could produce.
APU’s “The Addams Family” production was nothing short of peculiar greatness, a joyful sight to all. As the theme song says, “They’re creepy and they’re kooky / Mysterious and spooky / They’re all together ooky,” and that couldn’t be more true of this musical’s heart-warming nature.