The Addams Family by Upper Merion Area High School in King of Prussia, PA
April 4, 2017
Review submitted by Gabby Ford of Abington Friends School
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky,” The Addams Family, performed by the Underground Players of Upper Merion Area High School was just delightful, I mean frightful.
The Addams Family depicts a ghoulish family of six with a family butler which makes seven, but their lives of tortuous fun are altered when Wednesday Addams has found love in a normal boy, Lucas Beineke. Now he has to meet the family – what could possibly go wrong?
The Underground Players started strong with the number “When You’re An Addams,” with the entire company. The dances were crisp and well executed. The special effects lighting was on cue. Apart from a few moments where it was hard to hear the cast, the sound was good throughout the show.
Ricky Christman (Gomez Addams) embodied his character with ease as he sang of his feelings of being torn between two people he loved in “Trapped,” and had the audience in tears with his acting and great comedic timing. Shelby Lenhart (Morticia Addams) also made her character come to life with her acting and singing as well (especially in the musical number “Secrets”). But Lenhart also added to the production with makeup as she also created the makeup look of the entire cast with excellent detail. Ema Isajiw (Wednesday Addams) and Ryan Slusky (Pugsley Addams) were a great duo in the song “Pulled” but individually were strong in their acting and in their vocals as well.
The Beineke Family – David Marques (Lucas), Anna Bobok (Alice) and Justin Halpern (Mal) did well with their embodiment of their characters. Bobok wowed the audience in her solo “Waiting” and added another great comedic element to an already funny show. Marques and Halpern had great father and son chemistry throughout the show. Chris Perez (Lurch), Lily Isajiw (Grandma), and Luke Preston (Fester Addams) were also crowd favorites with their amusing gestures in Perez’s case, in their mannerism in the case of Isajiw’s character, and in the way they moved the storyline along as the character Fester (Preston) did with a few solos about helping Wednesday and Lucas find love.
The set showed the skill of the students, with the intricate background and the making of the entrance to the Addams with a door that opened and closed and the trees in the park. There were also a few props made by the students such as the torture chamber with the lever, Fester’s jet pack and the Gomez’s chair.
Overall, the musical was a fright to see and a round of applause to the cast and crew of Upper Merion Area High School for putting on The Addams Family.
Review submitted by Cole Walther of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
In Upper Merion High School’s deliciously daring production of The Addams Family, a brilliant cast and crew pulled the audience in a new direction – one of hilarious black comedy and fantastic high school theater.
The Addams Family chronicles everyone’s favorite deadpan clan when the daughter, Wednesday, finds love in Lucas Beineke, a man of just a tad too much sunny disposition for their taste.
As the curtain rises upon an ominously intricate set, one that makes the absolute most of Upper Merion’s enormous stage, the actors introduce the audience with ideal vocals and sharp rhythm. What made The Addams Family such a treat was that barely any members of the cast stood out above the rest, as the entire ensemble lifted the show with strong performances and passionate engagement. Ricky Christman as Gomez, a commanding force onstage, grasped his character with delightful charm. His superb vocal quality played off of Shelby Lenhart’s Morticia with fiery chemistry, and the duo proved to be the ultimate power couple of the show. Luke Preston enchanted the audience, narrating the tale as the lovable Uncle Fester, his comedic timing omnipresent and natural. Wednesday Addams, fiercely portrayed by Ema Isajiw, brought energy and wit to her role, her chemistry with the undeniably fantastic Ryan Slusky as Pugsley refusing to go unnoticed. Other fantastic performances include Lily Isajiw, uproariously depicting the Grandma, and Anna Bobok as Alice Beineke, a part played with nearly professional acting quality and elegance. Leveling out the onstage vigor impressively, the ancestor ensemble, showcasing insane dancing skills, found a thorough balance of dark humor and committed spirit, genuinely tying together the whole story.
None of the production could have been possible without those lending hands backstage. Aaron Groff’s marvelous lighting design, an essential to such a wild show as this, shone flawlessly, and Elise Spedding and Concetta Gilligan handled any blips in the consistent sound immediately, expressing expertise in the demur of live theatre. Perhaps the most impressive of the backstage participation was makeup and costume design. Led by Shelby Lenhart, who held workshops for her artists on top of playing a main role, the makeup team definitely delivered in ghostly their ghostly demeanor. Costumes, helmed by Juliana Denick, Lissa Sweeney, Chichi Amaefuna and Lenhart once more, captured each specific period of ancestors in all their variations from simplicity to complex, ghoulish design, painting a wondrous, sinister picture.
This show was such an enjoyable, demanding treat, every part played with an empowering sense of professionalism and glee. Although a majority of the cast played ghosts of ancestors long gone, it is impossible to say that Upper Merion High School’s The Addams Family did not breathe life into a challenging, fantastic musical!