Friday, May 25, 2012

The Creepy and the Kooky

I’ll admit, I don’t know much about the Addams family and going into last night’s Broadway Grand Rapids performance of the Addams Family musical, I only knew one thing, snapping. You know, dun dun dun dun *snap snap*. It made me feel better when this is the first thing Mike Lloyd, Executive Director of Broadway Grand Rapids, did when came out to say a few words. I had no expectations for this performance and I can honestly say that after seeing the whole production, I was completely blown away.

The Addams Family is a dark yet hilarious love story. The production spares no time for humor. Before the performance even starts the voice that comes on the overhead speakers before every show, you know the one, “please turn off all cell phones, blah blah blah”, started speaking and made sure everyone in the audience knew that the use of nooses, guillotines, and other torture devises were not permitted during the show, but highly recommended during intermission. The show hadn’t even started and the whole packed house at the DeVos Performance Hall was already in stitches.

The "dead ancestors" wowing the audience.
The musical is shockingly based around a love story. Wednesday Addams , daughter of Morticia and Gomez Addams  has fallen in love with a “normal” boy and he has proposed. This comes as a shock to Wednesday herself but it feels right and she wants to go through with it. She knows right away though that her mother will not be happy. You see, the Addams are anything but normal. In fact, the show kicks off with a fantastic song and dance routine with the entire Addams family dancing in the graveyard “waking up” their dead ancestors singing “When You’re An Addams”. The song describes how the family likes anything creepy, kooky, mysterious or spooky. Yeah, not exactly normal. 

The show goes on to show Wednesday telling her father, Gomez, about the engagement but she tells him that he mustn’t tell Morticia. Using her instincts that come with over 25 years of marriage, Morticia instantly knows Gomez is hiding something from her and she will not have it. The Addams prepare for a dinner party with Lucas’ parents. Wednesday begs her family to act “normal” for just one night. Meanwhile, you see Lucas also begging his parents, obviously in a strained marriage, for them to act “normal” for just one night! 

Morticia knows Gomez is holding something back from her, and she throughout the whole performance she always stresses that their whole relationship is based around being truthful. She tells Lucas’ mother that she has never kept a secret from Gomez and vice versa. She had only agreed to this dinner party on one condition, that after dinner everyone will play “the game”. Wednesday is mortified at this request as is the rest of the family. We later find out that “the game” is when the family sits around the dinner table and passes around a sacred chalice. Each person takes a sip out of the chalice and tells a secret they have never told anyone before. The game is called Full Disclosure. This game ends up bringing out many interesting comments, feelings, and of course the big elephant in the room; Wednesday and Lucas’ engagement. 

Through witty humor, modern day references, a whole lot of singing and dancing, and an extremely good moral of the story, the Addams Family will please audiences of all different ages. The dark humor and pop culture references will have the older crowd belly laughing the whole time and Pugsley Addams’ love of being tortured by his sister will be all too familiar to younger children (especially ones with older siblings!) 

The dead ancestors stick around for the entire show adding to some hilariously awkward dance scenes, and if you are like me and don’t know much about the Addams Family, let me just tell you, you will love Uncle Fester. Not sure if he is a man or a woman, but his witty quips and enthusiasm about love in a family who is so dark, adds so much to this performance. 

Oh! And how can I forget. Prepare to be completely shocked by Lurch, the zombie butler. That is all I will say. 

There are still three performances left of the Addams Family. Tonight at 8pm, and tomorrow at 2pm and 8pm. If you are looking for a great way to spend a few hours with the family or a loved one, I highly, highly recommend going to see this performance. There is no way you will be disappointed. 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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