Review: The Addams Family at Pendle Hippodrome Theatre in Colne by Burnley's Basics Junior Theatre School
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And those are the three words I would use to sum up the performance of The Addams Family (a new musical comedy) which premiered at Colne’s Pendle Hippodrome Theatre last night. The show is the 2023 production for Burnley’s Basics Junior Theatre School and the first night earned these talented young stars not one but two standing ovations.
The show is packed with high octane songs, hilarious scenes and is quite raunchy in places. The show is inspired by the iconic ghoulish family created by Charles Addams in the 1930s. It centres around Wednesday Addams (Beatrix Higginson) who falls in love with a smart young man, Lucas Beineke (Charlie Birtwistle), who is from a ‘normal’ family. The duo played the star crossed lovers perfectly and what a fabulous voice Beatrix has. There are some tricky songs in this musical, including ‘Pulled’, which Beatrix performed with real power and conviction with Hughie Higginson who is her brother in real life and on stage as Pugsley.
The casting of Felix Snowden as Gomez Addams, the head of the family and Ava-Grace Gregson as his wife Morticia Addams was inspired. Watching these young actors on stage it’s hard to believe that Felix is just 15 and Ava-Grace only 17! The pair worked beautifully together as the love struck couple whose marriage is still full of passion after several years together. Felix has perfect comic timing as he desperately tries to keep the fact that their beloved daughter is about to marry a ‘normal’ boy from his wife.
And what a mesmerising performance Ava-Grace gives as the sultry yet scary Morticia. It would be so easy to go over the top with this role but Ava-Grace resists to turn in an impeccable role that belies her age. And what a true professional this young actress showed she is the moment she took an unscripted tumble down a set of stairs in her high heels and long dress. As the audience gasped, Ava-Grace was back on her feet within seconds, flicked her her hair back and continued as if nothing had happened.
Luke Esden as Uncle Fester was a real audience favourite, along with Caelyn Bell as Grandma Addams, Freddy Adams as Lurch and Kayley Corrigan as Cousin ITT.
The contrast between the macabre loving Addams family and the wholesome American Beinekes makes for some hilarious performances, with Harris Rafferty as the strait laced dad, Mal Beineke and Jolie Forrest as his poetry loving but repressed wife Alice.
The dinner party scene where Alice is mistakenly given a potion that will release her ‘true self’ is a tour de force from Jolie. Singing the song ‘Waiting’ Jolie transforms from a little mouse into a fully fledged ‘woman’ with an energy packed performance that had the audience cheering and whooping.
Basics principal Andy Cooke and his team, including director Philip J Hindle, musical director Andrew Mitchell, choreographer Lydia Cooke, wardrobe mistress Sally Murtaugh and accompanists Matthew Hindle and Jennifer Mitchell, have once again produced a terrific show.
At the risk of repeating myself, this production, like all the shows from the Basics’ stable, could rival any professional one and it is mind blowing to realise that not one of the cast members is over the age of 18.
Credit must also be given to the cast of ghosts and other characters who gave terrific performances too and include: Evie Musso, Amelia Lancaster, Darcie Brown, Suki Holt, Gabriella Duffy, Lily Taylor, Jemina Redmond, Abi Belshaw, Alice Gilbert, Louie Boden, Kate Hollingsworth, Danni-Mai Brown, Millie Holmes, Andrew Jennings, Bethany Nicholls, Emily Kibble, Luca Ratcliffe, Hannah Mala, Hannah Reid, Poppy Mooney and Zara Sharples.
The show runs until this Saturday (October 14th) and tickets, which start at £14, can be bought online by clicking HERE