On the holiday we left two theatre slots free to see what we could pick up while there and owing to the lack of any BOOK OF MORMON tickets, we plumped instead for a Saturday matinee of THE ADDAMS FAMILY.
On the whole I should have opted for banging my head repeatedly with the hotel door. It would have been less painful. Yes Constant Reader, I come not to praise THE ADDAMS FAMILY but to bury it. And hopefully they will stay there.
I had an inkling of how things would pan out when looking around the audience - mostly families who looked like they were taking a break from shopping or sightseeing for a few hours by sitting in the dark. Large shopping bags had to be negotiated at every turn. I suspect they would have been happy to have the tabs raise on an empty stage and they wouldn't have minded.
I suspect the actors have a similar feeling of going through the motions. By the look of things THE ADDAMS FAMILY is the 'big' show you get tickets for when you can't get into the more popular 'big' shows and there was a real air of forced jollity among the cast. The reason I wanted to see the show was so I could see Bebe Neuwirth on stage for the first time. She gave us a nice star turn but the show sells her short - and she knows it. The best the creators can come up with for Moticia is that she is upset that Gomez might be thinking she is too old. Oh do come on.
The cast has recently changed so they should feel anything but tired. Don't get me wrong, there are actors giving the best performances they can - Brad Oscar as Fester, Jackie Hoffman as Granny, and now Nathan Lane has left the role of Gomez is played by Roger Rees - yes you read that right. They all give charming performances - but are fighting a losing battle against Marshall Brickman (he co-wrote ANNIE HALL you know) and Rick Elice's lame book and Andrew Lippa's uninspired score.The plot, such as it is, revolves around Wednesday falling in love and the lad's conformist parents coming to spend the night at the Addams mansion. There, you didn't see that coming eh? How about the biggest kick in the pants... the parents discover 'themselves' through exposure to the Addams' way of life! The show is yet another product of Oy Gevalt Productions (Hi Suzanne!)
The show was originally directed and designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (of SHOCKHEADED PETER fame) but was re-directed by Jerry Zaks after a troublesome out-of-town tryout. This messy birth has not helped the show. So... I also enjoyed Brad Oscar's song about his love for the moon performed in a Black Theatre of Prague style, Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees' second act tango was very well done... oh and the heavy swagged red curtains were luscious. And that's about it. Oh and I can mark off the Lunt-Fontanne theatre as visited.
It's the kind of show where you sit wondering when it will take off - as the ushers are sweeping the rows for sweet wrappers.
It's the kind of show that I suspect is put on for no other reason than their hadn't been an ADDAMS FAMILY musical before. It's the kind of show that I can imagine would turn non-theatre going people off the theatre - "What? You want to see a Broadway show?? We saw that ADDAMS FAMILY musical remember???"
Although isn't it odd... people will happily sit through any amount of shite films but they never say "What?? Go to the cinema? We saw that Danny Dyer film remember?" But one duff show and some people refuse to set foot in a theatre again.
It's the kind of show where these things occupy your mind as there is nothing else to engage the mind. Yes, a worse experience than SPIDER-MOOSE.