Review: One hell of a cast

24 March 2016

by Tom Bulpett

So far my festival has been occupied by police brutality, sexual identity crisis and child abuse. All of which I very much enjoyed, but these productions (I hope it was clear I was talking about shows there) were not exactly easy to watch at times. I was therefore thoroughly looking forward to switching my brain off, sitting back and enjoying some light-hearted uncomplicated theatre. And after whetting my appetite with an impressive rendition of their opening number at the welcoming ceremony, I hoped the production of The Addams Family from Durham Light Opera Group could provide me with this.

I entered the auditorium with high hopes and sat down in a cobweb-covered seat, courtesy of the Addams design team, hoping the next couple of hours would be entertaining rather than an endurance test. Once the curtain rose it was clear to see that I was in very capable hands for the evening. The entire cast lit up the stage for the second time this week with their fantastically choreographed opening number and continued in a similar vein for the following two acts. Bróccán Tyzack-Carlin and Sadie Kempner expertly led the charge with electrical chemistry and impressive comic timing as Gomez and Morticia Addams. Annie Davison supported them with her hilarious portrayal of the twisted and unpredictable Grandma, while Sorrel Brown brought the house down with an astonishing act one closer. Collectively the whole company are obviously an extremely talent group of students who kept me laughing and engaged throughout the production.

This was in spite of a script that at times felt lacking, with only a handful of memorable numbers and an uninteresting plot that only serves as a vehicle for jokes. Although many of these comic moments were excellent they often took a backseat within the plot driven scenes, making these the dullest sections of the musical. Despite this, the cast were still able to put together a delightful show out of slightly deficient source material.

It was a shame that during the show I got to see their efforts were somewhat undermined by technical issues that drew focus away from the brilliant performances. Mics dropped in and out on a regular basis, leaving audience members straining to hear specific characters at certain points. The blackouts in scene changes were frustratingly long, detracting from the otherwise perfect pacing of the production. Yet the cast fought through these problems to deliver a pleasing spectacle.

All in all, The Addams Family provided me with the evening of simple entertainment that I so desperately needed. Despite some drawbacks, the astonishing cast pulled it together to create a slick, enjoyable show that I would recommend to everyone.     

Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca