Three Spectacular Performances of The Addams Family | Epsom College
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Three Spectacular Performances of The Addams Family

The Addams Family, performed to a packed Big School from 5-7 March, reviewed by Rebecca Worthy

“So, will love triumph or will everyone go home vaguely depressed?” Fester asked the audience in a three-night run that left Big School with standing room only to see The Addams Family. The resounding response was a nightly standing ovation that nearly raised the roof, with whoops of appreciation permeating every corner of campus.

This quirky musical comedy gave the audience a dose from Grandma’s potion collection of not just love, but laughter, comedy and sadness through the lens of family life. The timeless themes of familial relationships and boundaries, children growing up, parents growing older, sibling rivalry, insecurity, and change, underpinned this musical offering. These complex themes were delivered with crystal-clarity and an elevated, mature, performance from a tight-knit cast.   

Morticia & Gomez – the ultimate power couple

Rhys Entwistle, as head of the family Gomez, brought some heavyweight acting to the role but also displayed a real gift for comedy.  As we watched him mentally flail and falter, torn between his wife and daughter, we could only sympathise and laugh at him in equal measure. Despite some very dense language at times, Rhys maintained his accent beautifully, even whilst singing. This only added to the authenticity he brought to the character

Sophie Norman as Morticia was outstanding. From the moment she entered the stage, the audience knew they were being treated to some exceptional acting. Sophie’s ability to inhabit Morticia was akin to trained actors. Her commanding performance, combined with Rhys’ skilled delivery, held the audience’s attention with supreme confidence throughout. They were the ultimate power couple and their acting confidently showed they knew it too.  

Eternal themes, perfectly pitched

The themes of young love and family “normality” were perfectly encapsulated in the relationship between Wednesday and Lucas, played by Bea Digance and John Warfield. Their acting delivered some exceptional vocal performances that had the audience entranced. The dark wit of Wednesday was delivered on point by Bea, contrasting with the over-enthusiastic and indefatigable Lucas, perfectly represented by John.

The eternal issues of sibling rivalry and fear of change were portrayed so believably by Olivia Rodriguez as Pugsley. Despite the graphic nature of her words (who can forget the line “What if she never nails my tongue to the bathroom floor?”), Olivia sang so beautifully that we couldn’t help but feel moved. Bibi Watkins, menacing yet strangely soothing as Grandma, was pitched perfectly against Pugsley, and Bibi’s supremely clear voice was a joy to hear.  

Fester, an utterly bonkers character, was depicted by Brandon McGuinness with a professionalism beyond his years. Brandon’s comic timing, clear diction and superlative singing had the audience thinking that if anyone was going to get to the moon it would indeed be Fester, such was the rapturous reception.  

Another fine couple, struggling with their own familial themes, were Alice and Mal Beineke, played by Anna Gillespie and Josh Hadley. Josh played Mal, the “normal” family man, to perfection: cool, calm and confident. Until his wife took a potion meant for Wednesday and all hell broke loose. Anna’s simply outstanding performance in the song Full Disclosure was an absolute highlight of the show. Not only a sophisticated ensemble piece, it also allowed Anna to give a masterclass in combining singing and movement whilst holding everyone’s attention.  

An impeccable ensemble

Lucy Campbell, Hannah Daniels, Alice Griffiths, Livi Hakata, Xander Handley, Lucy Hughes, Olivia Key, Caitlin Lynch, Harriet Mathers, Caspar Maxwell-Randeria, Sophia Palmer, Ana Clara Rocha-Pannetier, Amy Schoonhoven and Ellie Vetch as The Ancestors, always lurking, twitching and moving with ungainly grace, were impeccable; even when discreetly manipulating the set. The scenes that involved dancing were captivating and credit must be extended to Xander Handley in particular. He elevated these scenes with professional elegance. 

Before the audience “moved toward the Darkness” for the evening, the performance had one last gift from a character who was mostly mute on stage: Oliver Crabb as Lurch.

Oliver brought such gravitas to his role that the audience paid attention despite his silent status. His physical command of the role already mastered, he then surprised the audience as he sang a solo exactly as one would imagine “Lurch” to sing: a deep, profound, resonating bass. Oliver’s singing was an utter revelation to the audience who could barely hold back their appreciation.  

The Epsom College Band Members of Satomi Brocklebank, Daisy Gillespie, Matthew Jarrett, Jayen Navamani, Annabel Eaves, Scarlett Li, Justin Pang, Sophie Bustard and Hattie Stephens showed they had mastered their instruments fearlessly and handled the technically challenging musical score faultlessly.  

The student Tech Team of Harry Wearne, Amelia Jallot, Fleur Veillard and Anne Nie worked untiringly behind the scenes ensuring every cue was met, every light accurate and the numerous props delivered seamlessly to the stage. They were ably supported by Caroline Bartram, Annabel Curry, Lara Sennaro and Alessi Steidl who skilfully applied much of the gothic make-up.  

This production delivered a complete Epsom experience, incorporating students from throughout the senior school and showcasing talented performers on and off stage.

The pupils were of course guided by exceptional leaders: the directorial team of Ms Jakes, Mr Lodge and Miss Vincent, together with the tech and design team of Mr Kerswell, Mr Bishop, Mr Sillitoe and Mr Royall.

The success of the show was that the cast, crew, musicians and production team worked as a family: blending their skills, working tirelessly, communicating effectively and supporting each other through the experience. It really was a brilliant example of “When you’re an Epsomian, it’s family first and family last”.