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7/21/11

THE ADDAMS FAMILY MUSICAL - REVIEW


Looks like every Broadway comedy musical these days is trying to be The Producers...

Mel Brooks' hugely successful show now being the basic template for shows based on movies (with the exception of the admittedly *ahem* unique Spiderman musical), after Dirty Rotten Scoundrels we're treated to Broadway's The Addams Family. An odd release but probably an inevitable one.

Not based on any of the movies, the story actually follows up from past adaptations and sees a now grown-up Wednesday falling in love with a "normal" dude and having to face her unconventional family. It's essentially Addams Family Values with Wednesday taking on the Fester role. A good idea which should please both fans of the films and those looking to see something new.

But what works for The Producers just doesn't work for everything.

Nathan Lane as Gomez Addams? So much for the tall, suave, maniacal Gomez we all know and love! Don't get me wrong, I love Nathan Lane but listening to the guy do a Spanish accent for an entire show is both confusing and off-putting. The rest of the cast seems to fit in relatively well although a couple of characters (Fester, Grandma) would seem to fit more in the overly kid-friendly 90's Addams Family TV series. Actually, the tone throughout is closer to those series than the films or the original series in tone.

And unfortunately this is the show's biggest flaw: its tone. This is one happy-go-lucky, salsa-dancing musical for a film about a family of weirdos obsessed with death and general unpleasantness. I mean, sure the family has fun with its own madness but there is a dark, gothic style to the thing which seems lost here. The show is definitely fun but there was an opportunity here to make something not only entertaining but creative and different in its approach. Sadly, we're stuck with this predominantly Sex And The City theme-style score.

That said, there are treats throughout: the jokes and characters are all familiar but still feel fresh and the darker ("In The Arms"), saddest ("Happy, Sad") and silliest ("The Moon And Me") songs all work perfectly. It's just a shame the whole thing feels more childish than it should. Had the show stayed closer to the early films stylistically, tonally and musically we could have had one delightfully weird little show. Oh well...

On the whole, this is a fair attempt at an Addams Family musical and you'll definitely have a ball, just don't expect anything groundbreaking or over-creative.

Fatally amusing.  

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