The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Addams Family
Organization Stand Out Talent
Date(s) of show December 5-21, 2014
Reviewer Gerry Camp

Beginning in the 1940s cartoonist Charles Addams published many cartoons in The New Yorker featuring a strange family enjoying macabre activities, including torturing one another with great pleasure. The characters had no names until they became characters on television as The Addams Family. Many TV shows and movies later, the Family became a Broadway musical in 2010, and I was fortunate to see that version in Stand Out Talent's production playing now through December 21 at the Tower Theatre in Roseville.

The family is headed by the suave if creepy Gomez (Steve Campbell, an outstanding actor, singer, and dancer) and his vampirish wife Morticia (the equally talented J. Cranmer). In the opening number, “When You’re an Addams,” they are joined by their ancestors from various historical periods who emerge from their graves. The ancestors are persuaded not to return to their coffins because an urgent situation has arisen which requires the presence of the entire “extended family.”  The Addams’s daughter, Wednesday (Carli Meyer), is planning on marrying a “normal” young man, and he and his parents have been invited to dinner.

We soon meet the other members of the family: chubby, bald, grotesque Uncle Fester (J. Scott Moore, who threatens to steal the show whenever he appears); Grandma Addams (Haley Buckmaster), a witch who creates powerful potions; and Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley (Joey Carlsen), who likes nothing more than to have Wednesday torture him. The other member of the household is the butler, Lurch (Craig Plageman), who resembles Frankenstein’s monster and who, well, lurches about silently as the plot unfolds. Wednesday begs the family to have “One Normal Night,” but that is not to be.

Wednesday’s fiancé, Lucas Beineke (Zach Van Ysseldyk), his dad Mal (Andy McCollulm) and mom, Alice (producer, director and choreographer, Jennifer Bortz) are seated for dinner when several Addams family members insist on playing "The Game."  It involves drinking potion and making a "full disclosure" about some secret.  Among other disclosures, Uncle Fester reveals he is in love with the moon.  The Game proceeds tamely until Puglsey sneaks in a special potion intended to bring out one's dark nature.  He intends it for his sister, but Alice drinks it instead, and chaos ensues.  She brings down the house singing and dancing, even on the table, revealing her disappointing marriage in “Waiting.”  Through all of this the chorus of ancestors looks on or, effectively choreographed, dances through the scenes.

Act Two moves the story forward, with Fester leaving for the moon. Wednesday and Lucas decide both families are crazy, and compare them with “Crazier Than You,” which Mal and Alice reprise as they reconcile. The marriage of Gomez and Morticia appears endangered until Gomez promises to take Morticia to see the sewers of Paris. They reaffirm their love in a superb dance, “Tango de Amor,” in which they are joined by the chorus of ancestors.

The show is perfectly cast and moves forward swiftly on the center stage surrounded by the audience on three sides. The numerous set changes are handled swiftly and scarcely interrupt the action. Scenery is enhanced by a series of evocative slides projected on a screen overhanging the back of the stage. Jennifer Bortz’s complex choreography is executed flawlessly and the many songs, in addition to being hilarious, are carried by the excellent voices of all the principals.

My only complaint is that the program tells us nothing about the producers, the director, or the members of the cast. Carli Meyer is delightful as Wednesday, but is she a local schoolgirl or an experienced young actress? Steve Campbell is mesmerizing as Gomez, but I wanted to know what other roles he has played in his clearly extensive career. I cover all the shows of the two community theatres in Folsom, and both of them include bios of the performers in their programs. I urge Stand Out Talent to do so for future shows.

Seeing “The Addams Family” and Stand Out Theatre for the first time was a wonderful evening of theatre. Though not your typical Christmas show, it is delightful entertainment about “family, love, devotion, finding your way in life and the blending of families” and is sure to enhance the holiday enjoyment of all who are lucky enough to see it.

 Reviews Home    Organizations    Shows