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Previews
The Addams Family
The Addams Family
Peoria Players Theatre
October 9 - 11 & 15 - 18

By Stan Strickler



Charles Addams whose cartoons appeared in the New Yorker was a master of macabre, dark humor. It has been translated into a television show, a couple of movies, and now a musical. The show, in a regional premiere at Peoria Players, is funny, visually stunning, and an all around delightful evening of theater. Although the play is a little dark, it is punctuated with good old-fashioned cornball humor, and many references to current events that make the rather traditional story a delight.

The story revolves around the traditional Addams family familiar to most audience members, but it has been updated since Wednesday their oldest child is now contemplating marriage to a rather conventional young man. Neither of her parents is fond of the notion of their little daughter growing up, but they are especially upset by the fact that the young man is not like them. Wednesday has invited her fiancĂ©e’s parents for dinner and asks her parents to be “normal.” But as Morticia says, “What is normal? What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.” The plot then revolves around the clash of cultures as the straight-laced Beinekes meet the Addams family. Complications ensue as the Addams family members try to prevent the marriage, resulting in a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl plot line.

But don’t be disappointed because the plot outline is rather conventional. There is much to appreciate in the oddball cast of characters and the twists and turns provide much humor. Travis Olson has assembled a remarkable cast who bring the creepiness alive. George Maxedon as Gomez and Michelle Rouland bring the Addams family parents to life with their great acting, and wonderful singing. They create just the right atmosphere or creepiness and humor needed in this play. Also to be commended is Madison Boedecker as Wednesday and Kaden Micklos as the Addams children Wednesday and Puglsey. Both have great stage presence and contribute nicely to the overall humor of the play. Josh Shepherd is really funny as Uncle Fester who is in love with the moon and FS as Grandma adds a creepiness to the play as her potions figure into the plot. Austin Shaw as Lurch has great stage presence and the physicality to bring Lurch to life and his slow movements and gibberish language add much to the humor of the play. Also o be commended are Adam Raso as Lucas, Kelleen Nitsch at Alice, and Clifford Clark as Mal. These members of the Beineke family are humorous, long suffering, and create a lot of humor to the production especially as Alice undergoes her transformation.

The chorus of the show is made up of the Addams family ancestors and provide nice back up to the songs with great singing and dancing. They are a varied cast of characters from Atticus Finch to a caveman, and Cleopatra to Marie Antoinette. The Music director Nichole Fauser and choreographer Mariah Thornton created a wonderful singing dancing ensemble that add much to the songs of the show.

What is most remarkable about this show though are the visual aspects. The sets are from Chicago’s Mercury Theater and add quite a lot of visual interest to the production. They are slightly askew mirroring nicely the oddball nature of the show, and they move easily from scene to scene. The set crew is also to be commended for assembling these remarkable sets. Not to be outdone by the sets though are the costumes which were visually stunning. Mary Keltner and Sue McGrew have created quite a lot of very unusual costumes that appeal to the eye and add a lot of visual interest to the play. They have created the traditional Addams family costumes bathed is a sea of black, but they have also created costumes from so many different periods that add so much visually to the whole production.

All in all this is a wonderful show and not to be missed. It has strong acting, great singing and dancing, and a stunning visual perspective rarely seen in community theater. It is fun and funny, and even though the plot is rather traditional, the humor is not and the audience will leave the theater with a smile on their faces.

The Addams Family continues at Peoria Players Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and on Sunday at 2 pm.  Tickets are $19 for adults and $12 for patrons aged 20 & younger and are available at the Peoria Players box office, by calling 309-688-4473 309-688-44 or online at 
www.PeoriaPlayers.org

Posted on October 11, 2015 

 

 
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