Dare I say – THIS WAS THE BEST COMMUNITY THEATRE PERFORMANCE I HAVE EVER SEEN.
There. My review is done. Don’t even waste your time reading this, go get your ticket!!!
Really though – this weekend was a combined birthday for my sister and I. So what else would we possibly be doing other than treating ourselves to some community theatre?! So we headed out to Scarborough Music Theatre this past Friday to see The Addams Family musical, written by Andrew Lippa, and book written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and brilliantly directed by Cory Doran.
I used to watch The Addams Family when I was a kid in the 90’s. Growing up in a chaotic home myself, watching them was like drifting off in to my very own twilight zone where I could use my imagination and get really immersed in another life for 30 minutes a day.
This is what happened when the show opened and the stage dimly lit up on Friday night. We were in the second row, centre, and with the absolutely stunning cast on stage, and the brilliant and vivid set design, I felt like I was on the Addams’ property myself!
I would consider myself a very observant person; I pick out things on movies all the time. If a prop has moved, if positions of a characters hand is moved slightly out of place between camera cuts, etc. – it really grinds my gears. I am also very visual and I need visual stimulation to keep myself in the moment. So when I saw this set, I was examining every inch of it! William Corcoran, set designer, has designed sets for several professional and other community theatres, and his experience and expertise shows! The set was an absolute work of art! Of course, Master Carpenter and Assistant Master Carpenter Adam Connor, and Daniel MacEachern and the entire Set Building and Painting team, all collaborated to bring together this striking set. The love and labour is evident. The raised stage exposed a peek under the Addam’s home. Rocks, spindly twigs and even smoke rising out from under was the foundation to this masterpiece. The mansion surrounded by a dark, dead forest added an eeriness. Everything down to the hanging lamps, the crow in the family tree and even the damn shingles on the roof – perfection! This set had multiple floors in the Addam’s mansion, and Lighting Designer David Buffham, and Lighting Operator Stephanie O’Neilll and of course the Hang team, managed to truly make it feel as though I was wandering throughout the mansion and exploring each floor. With the use of the lighting and slight prop changes, you could sense the change of floors they were in; the basement, the front foyer, the attic and even outside on the (not so grassy) lawn! And when you thought things couldn’t get better, wait for some set surprises after intermission!
The orchestra was ethereal and fun! Everything about this play seemed nothing other than professional to me! Orchestra of course included! I am not musically trained at all, if I were, I’d have a lot more to comment on the fabulous tunes. However I know I can say it was brilliant!
The cast – My God, the cast! The cast were stunning! The ensemble, (ancestors of the Addams’) gave more of a history on the Addam’s ancestry, and were part of the show throughout. With Gomez’ Spanish roots, you can tell family is direly important to him. Having the ancestors involved throughout, reinforced the importance of, and love for family. Costume designers Dionne Brown and Mitchell Byrne had everything nailed down to T! Can I say Madison Chin looked just like Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga?! The dramatic piled up hair atop her head and the makeup creating high cheek bones, and just something about her screamed Gaga to not only me, not only my sister, but my husband as well! I’m curious if she’s been told this before! Also – Hayley Goldenberg really stuck out to me. She was so charismatic on stage she really popped! I could hear her voice in the ensemble songs and it rose powerfully among so many others on stage. Madison Haste in her ballet slippers, I figured was a dancer right away – but when she came out in her pink, silky pointe shoes, I was so impressed and even got goosebumps at her pirouettes and expressive dance. Ballet was my passion until I could not pursue it any further, so when I saw her dancing I got butterflies.
I am not hesitant to say that I have a very short attention span. A movie an hour and a half long is pushing it – and I’m restless. This show was two and a half hours and I didn’t even want it to end! That says a LOT about how entertained I was and how much I enjoyed the show! There were so many moments I was laughing out loud. I am not one to shy away from boisterous laughing, and this show had me doing that – and I certainly wasn’t the only one in the crowd! So many others were as well and it was infectious!
Gomez.. Morticia… Morticia and Gomez…*swoon* Jill McMillan and Jason Silzer. They had spark! They had passion and flare! I truly believed their romance. Their chemistry was on fire! (I would have to say much more so than Wednesday and Lucas) This would be hard to meet when looking at the relationship between the original Morticia and Gomez, but these two nailed it! They were a beautiful couple. Gomez is so sweet, endearing (and also hilarious) and Morticia has always been someone I admired for her independence, her confidence and her classic beauty as well as longingly desired by her husband! You could tell that both of them love their roles, let alone theatre altogether.
My sister and I were in.love. with Morticia’s dress! Also – her pointy stiletto black nails inspired myself to get my own today! I always knew I had a little Morticia vibe in me!
Grandma Addams, played by Dot Routledge, lived up to every expectation I had for Grandma. She was amazing! Comical, lively, wacky, zany and eccentric. Honestly, she is what I hope to be like when I’m 102 and live in my child’s attic, smoking weed and concocting potions!
It’s funny, because I used to think Pugsley Addam’s was annoying on the show and in the movie. I never really enjoyed his character for some reason. I’m afraid that created an unfair bias when adorable Jordyn Schwartz came on stage as little Pugs. However, she absolutely shattered that bias the second she said her first line! Her devilish grins, lowered head, darting eyes and dark, grim imagination connected with the inner child in me. Pugsley’s love for older sister Wednesday reminded me of the strong bond I have for my own big sister and how we look out for each other even in the weirdest and bizarre scenarios.
Wednesday!!!! Shai Tannyan, Ahhh she was so great!! In this modern-esque rendition of The Addam’s Family, she was sliding in to Thursday! Saturday even! Where is this girl going to take her next steps in theatre? Never leave the stage! Please! On stage she was this moody, dark, gothic and very striking Wednesday Addam’s. I connected with her on the rebellious, melancholy teen level. I totally understood her wanting “one normal night” with the family, and then for it to be anything BUT.
Fester – played by Micky Myers. He came out on stage in perfect costume and attitude for the happy-go-lucky, kooky Uncle Fester. His bald head, pale skin and grey gown made him so intimidating, especially with his dark under eyes. However, when you see his socks, hear him speak, and watch his mannerisms, he is the least frightening of them all. Micky was great! He was definitely the comedian and had the audience roaring throughout! He is the epitome of a goofy, fun loving Uncle any kid would love to have.
Though quiet, stoic, and stiff, Lurch played by Chris O’Bray was constantly lurking in the background. I’d sometimes even forget he was there, and then he’d bumble off or on stage in his big clunky shoes and you’d be comforted knowing that this big friendly giant was guarding the door – but don’t be fooled by his muted and quiet demeanour 😉
Clive Lacey, someone we have seen often and become quite fond of, was the hilariously dorky, awkward Dad type that forgot his youth and became a safe, responsible adult. Well, he was a hoot to watch along with his wife Alice – Liisa Kallasmaa. These two certainly grow on you throughout the play, and the goody two shoes couple, don’t turn out to be what they seem!
Though the Addam’s seem like the strange, outsider type family – they aren’t so different when it comes down to family after all. Behind the Addams’ antics and unconventional lifestyle, lies a reminder of how important the foundation of a family is, whether blood or not. It reminds us that even the most “normal” or “irrational” families all have complexities regardless of lifestyle, preferences, money, beliefs and morals, etc.
You will regret it if you don’t catch this outstanding community theatre performance! It is out of this world. The entire cast and crew, front of house manager, everyone, went above and beyond, all the way to the *moon* with the effort and talent and love put in to this production. You will be fully immersed as a fly on the wall, (or maybe cockroach?) as you’re part of this intimate and freakish family dynamic!
Full disclosure – I want to be an Addams!
Running: February 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16th at 8:00 pm and February 4, 11 and 17 at 2:00 pm.
Regular tickets: $30
Call 416-267-9292 or order tickets online here.
While you’re there anyways, grab your tickets for Crazy For You! It opens in May but tickets are already going fast!
The beautiful photography contained in this review are credit of Raph Nogal, torontotheatrephotographer.com