The Addams Family by Archmere Academy in Claymont, DE
February 27, 2019
Review submitted by Lisa Green of Friends’ Central School
Full Disclosure: The Addams Family is back and better than ever, courtesy of Archmere Academy’s incredibly engaging, inventive, and comically dark production!
Based on the beloved Charles Addams cartoons and the famed TV show and movie, the musical flips the original story on its head: the extremely unconventional Addams Family invites their daughter Wednesday’s straight-laced boyfriend and his parents to dinner and hijinks ensue.
Creative touches and unforgettable performances took center stage this weekend. From transforming the typically ghostly looking ancestors into zombies to integrating their extremely talented Dancer Ensemble into nearly every number to including Cousin Itt and Thing and other Addams Family Easter eggs, Archmere Academy made their performance stand out at every turn.
Riley McAvinue (Gomez) immediately drew the audience in with his enthusiasm and ever-present signature accent, and conveyed genuine inner conflict in songs like “Two Things” and “Trapped.” Katherine Alberta (Morticia) displayed remarkable vocals and demonstrated her character’s growth by slowly employing more quirks and eccentricities over the course of the show.
In addition, Kyla McAvinue (Uncle Fester) encapsulated her character flawlessly and kept the audience in stitches through her consistent character voice and spot-on facial expressions. Elise Brady’s compelling portrayal of Alice paired with her impressive lower vocal range and comedic timing made “Waiting” a true showstopper. The backbone of the cast were the choruses, both the Ancestors and the Dancer Ensemble. They both went above and beyond, showcasing difficult and original choreography, and exhibiting an unprecedented amount of exuberance.
Technically speaking, this production had so much to offer. Each intricate scene change was seamless and while there were occasional microphone errors, they were quickly addressed every time. The specificity in each of Alexis Rendel’s costumes, particularly the way all of the Ancestors’ costumes correlated to causes of death, was brilliant. Furthermore, Zach Christie’s ability to balance designing a dynamic light design with playing a leading role was very admirable. The production concluded by projecting Uncle Fester’s face onto the moon, which provided a really unexpected and unique effect that ended the show on an exciting note.
Archmere Academy gave an amazing performance, filled with infectious energy and surprises along the way, and helped the audience “Live Before We Die.”
Review submitted by Molly Levine of Upper Merion Area High School
An eccentric family, a potion, a secret, the moon, and love? This recipe for all things disaster is a dangerous concoction known as The Addams Family Musical. Archmere Academy’s dynamic production of the kooky and the creepy brought the iconic Addams’ story from the screen to the stage!
Written by Andrew Lippa, Rick Elice, and Marshall Brickman, the Addams find themselves face-to- face with their most terrifying adversary yet: normalcy. Wednesday Addams is all grown up and has fallen for Lucas Beineke, a quirky boy from Ohio. With never-ending jokes and memorable numbers, the two families blur the definition of normal in this bizarre, heart-warming story of chaos, laughter, and love.
This rendition of dark comedy was brought to life by a powerful and engaged ensemble, apt lighting, and an intricate array of costumes. Challenged with elaborate harmonies and demanding dance breaks, the cast and crew never lost their somber, ghoulish portrayal of what it is like “When You’re an Addams”.
Riley McAvinue as Gomez had unstoppable comedic timing with his unfaltering Spanish accent and lively facial expressions always at the ready. McAvinue’s absolute silliness did not prevent him from exploring the depth of his character, revealing Gomez’s soft and loving nature in songs such as “Happy/Sad” and “Not Today”. His only daughter, Wednesday Addams (Bella Abbrescia) obviously inherited his powerhouse vocals, evident in her show-stopping “Pulled”.
Kyla McAvinue’s comic physicality and timely adlibs as Fester were spot on as her light-hearted hilarity drove the production forward. While his lines consisted of grumbles and groans, Lurch (David Demnicki) used his deadpan delivery to add unforgettable moments to the show, closing the production with his resonant bass solo in “Move Toward the Darkness.” The dedicated Dancer Ensemble moved in unison while also breaking out in solo features during “Tango Di Amor,” showing the talent of each individual dancer as their own respective ancestor.
Great timing was not only seen in the actors’ comedy; Ethan Ferriera and Zach Christie executed lighting seamlessly with their complex designs and infinite number of cues. Costuming by Alexis Rendel and Annalise Tonn brought the show to life with creative depictions of how each ancestor met their grisly end. Paired with highly detailed makeup, the characters of the Addams Family were given another dimension of authenticity.
It was not “One Normal Night” at Archmere Academy, but it certainly was one of eerie humor, playful mischief, and unending laughter!