Sometimes stepping off the beaten path or outside of the mainstream can be fraught with peril, but on occasion, it can turn into a wonderful surprise, and you pat yourself on the back for taking the big step.
Such was my reaction after stepping into Theatre Unchained's deliciously tiny space in order to see the production of "The Addams Family" musical, which runs through Sept. 28. This was a play I had seen before, and despite the 700-performance run on Broadway, I wasn’t totally in love with it.
Maybe it was because I was never really a regular watcher and fan of the Addams Family television show. I also recall the previous performance I had seen to be an effort to make the audience feel creepy and full of wonder about how eerie and disturbed this family was.
Much to their credit, the performance Saturday night, under the direction of John Baiocchi, left the creepiness outside and settled on making the audience laugh. And it was a smashingly successful effort.
Oh, there were things to pick at, of course. This was a cast of 16 actors, none of whom I have ever seen on stage, and I’ve seen a lot of Milwaukee theater. There was a live orchestra of seven musicians under the music direction of AJ Stibbe that was on occasion a little too loud, drowning out some of the lyrics. And there was not much of the slick polish you see around town in the bigger, mainstream theaters.
But those are all minor points that should not detract from a cast and orchestra that knew where the laughs were and mugged and timed all of them just right for maximum effect on a full house.
For those who don’t know, the Addams family is made up of Gomez (Timothy J. Barnes), his wife Morticia (a delectably sexy Kassandra Novell), his brother Fester (Marty Graffenius), their daughter Wednesday (Jamie Nyland), their son Pugsley (Jessica Hoof) and the grandmother (Danielle Gamsky). Lurch (a delightfully droll Matthew Northey) is the houseman.
The story is plain and simple.
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