Every family has its woes, but perhaps nothing will ever compare to the threat of a beloved family member leaving. This narrative premise has been showcased over and over again on TV, film, and even literature – sometimes even to a sickening extent. Fortunately, this dried-up formula has been given a fresh take in the grotesque and zany story of The Addams Family Musical.
A certified hit during its Broadway run, The Addams Family Musical can now be seen by Filipino theatergoers as Atlantis Productions culminates its 14th season with its local staging. Based on the characters of Charles Addams, with a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and music by Andrew Lippa, the musical follows the eccentric Addams Family as they are confronted with the news that can potentially shake up the household’s grimly balanced household. Fresh from his Aliw Awards Hall of Fame win, veteran theater director Bobby Garcia directs the show and has effectively assembled an entire production that gives justice and life to the Addams Family universe.
More significantly, the local company of The Addams Family breathes life to the characters and to the entire production with visible enthusiasm and dedication. Arnell Ignacio may surprise the audience as the family patriarch Gomez Addams. He’s been known as a veritable comedian and actor, but his vocal mastery is impeccable. He sings with a credible gravitas as he goes from a quirky song, an emotional ballad, to an operatic tune. Complementing Ignacio’s Gomez is Eula Valdez’s Morticia Addams, Gomez’s wife and the commanding matriarch of the Addams household. Last seen in Nine, Valdez continues to prove herself as a strong stage performer. The ever-reliable Jamie Wilson takes the role of the quirky yet endearing Uncle Fester with a deep sense of credibility and commitment. Wilson completely loses himself in the role as he captures the character’s speech pattern and persona. K-La Rivera plays Wednesday Addams and continues to showcase why she is turning out to be a shining star in the local theater scene. In a surprising casting choice, Nyoy Volante switches genders as he plays the Grandma (alternating with Jimmy Marquez). Everybody knows how good of a singer Volante is, but his chops as an actor continues to gain maturity and respect. This role lies at the opposite end of the character spectrum compared to his performance in Rock of Ages. Anton Posadas (alternating with Warren Saga) personifies the youngest son Pugsley with a rich youthful rebellion and angst. Ryan Gallagher plays Lucas Beineke with innocent boyish charm while Calvin Millado and Carla Guevarra-Laforteza’s experience shine through as they take on the role of Lucas’ parents, Mal and Alice. Ikey Canoy stands out as the zombie butler Lurch. It’s important to note that Lurch mostly utters groans and grunts throughout the show and yet his towering presence and accurate timing in physical comedy made himself highly memorable. The rest of the ensemble effectively adds layer of chaos within the Addams Family household and rightfully complement the main cast.
The local production of The Addams Family dishes out a clever presentation that can be best enjoyed by the entire family (just stay guarded though for slight sexual references). In hindsight, the show’s characters can be highly relatable, given how eccentric they are. And that is a good takeaway from a show like this. At its core, everybody needs the same thing. The concept of normal is irrelevant in the search and pursuit for that fundamental human need. In the end, one has to ask: who are we really to judge those who are different? For all we know, they just might be funnier and more human than us.
'The Addams Family' runs from November 15 to December 1, 2013 at the Meralco Theater. For information, call Claire of Atlantis Productions at (63 2) 892-7078.
Regular Ticket Prices: Orchestra Center - P1,563 / Orchestra Side - P1,406.70 / Orchestra Side (Obstructed) - P937.80 / Loge Center - P1,146.20 / Loge Side: P1,042 / Balcony Center - P729.40 / Balcony Side (Q,R,S,T): P625.20 / Balcony Side (U,V,W,X) - P521