Da da da dum (snap snap). "The Addams Family." You want a verdict? Not bad. Pretty good. Da da da dum (snap snap). Sitcom. Very sitcom. Which it is. (snap snap). Memorable? Not at all. (snap snap). Fun? Absolutely. But Morticia and a ghost kick line? That's entertainment. (snap snap).
Vic Mizzy's memorable theme leads off the overture. The family snaps through the opening "When You're an Addams" number. This is one show that KNOWS from whence it came - television - and doesn't pretend otherwise.
For better or for worse, "The Addams Family" never escapes its cornball beginnings. The show feels like "a very special episode;" Wednesday has a boyfriend! Cue family crisis, visitors from Ohio (GASP!) and Pugsley sabotaging dinner with one of Granny's potions! Oh noes!
Not to say the show can't offer a solid night of entertainment. It can - and does, in a kooky way. It just isn't Shakespeare. Every throwaway joke the writers could haul out finds a home. Subtle jokes work best, like the monster under Pugsley's bed or Thing opening the stage curtains at the top of the show.
Resurrecting the Addams ancestors as a singing, dancing chorus of the dead makes for a dazzling stroke. Ghostly white costumes from all eras of history provide lively backdrops for "One Normal Night," "Full Disclosure" and "Tango de Amor." The goofy ghosts prove full of fun.
I wish the show offered more - both as far as plot or musically. Only ditty "The Moon and Me" truly connects. Sung by Shaun Rice's Uncle Fester as he romances Luna, the plaintive piece captures the whimsical, carefree nature of the show. Ancestors in striped 1920s bathing costumes twirl lacy parasols as Fester sings; theater magic lets Rice levitate in the air, joined by a chorus of singing stars. Truly, one of the night's sweetest, most genuinely touching moments.
Another standout moment comes courtesy KeLeen Snowgren's elegant, busty Morticia. Sulking after a tiny white lie from Gomez, she decides that death is "Just Around the Corner." Kudos to the audience member who yelped with glee as the actress explained the pun "just around the co-ro-ner," earning a nod and a curtsy.
Funny, silly, goofy, a little kooky and kinda fun. It's not the most wonderful thing on the block, nor the smartest piece of theater you'll ever see - but I dare you not to smile at a show that so brazenly wears its heart on its sleeve. And I ask you to ponder this: "How does Morticia's dress stay up when it's cut clear to Venezuela?"
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Social media wizard, arts writer and theatre critic for Naples Daily News (@ndn). Starbucks devotee. Blogger & #sbuxdrama creator. Britcom lover. Snarky. +3 Twitter power. |
Chris began reviewing local theater performances for the Daily News during the fall of 2007. His first review was of Queen Latifah's slamming performance at the Philharmonic, while his favorite so far has been "Eagle Fruit," British playwright Terry Johnson's scream-and-leap blast of performance art for the spiritually deprived from the Laboratory Theater of Florida in December 2009.
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