NOTE: As the Word/Eagle is in flux with the renaming and corresponding change in official website, John is putting his reviews here — for now.
By John Lyle Belden
You know it’s going to be fun when the orchestra starts the theme and the audience joins in on the “snap-snap”s.
In “The Addams Family: A New Musical” at Footlite Musicals in Indianapolis, the familiar “mysterious and spooky” characters from the Charles Addams comics and popular TV show and movies are brought to the stage with all the macabre oddities fans have come to expect.
However, in this story daughter Wednesday is now a young woman, and in love. It seems her beau and his family are “normal,” but that facade wears thin during a wacky meet-the-parents dinner.
Excellent performances all around by Ivy Bott (Wednesday), Michael Davis (Gomez), Kathleen Clarke Horrigan (Morticia), Bryan D. Padgett (Uncle Fester), Marie Beason (Grandma), Xavier Wilson (Pugsley), Trenton Baker (Lurch), Joseph Massingale as boyfriend Lucas and Darrin Gowan and Carrie Neal as his parents. There is also an entertaining chorus of ghostly Ancestors – once an Addams, always an Addams.
Davis pulls off the patriarch role with proper panache, and it’s good to see Horrigan stepping down from her usual post at the Footlite director’s chair to inhabit “Tish”s slinky dress. They command every scene they’re in – her more than him, of course.
Bott can go from flat deadpan to dark-edged emotion and back, all in character, in no time flat. Massingale plays the most mellow character in the cast (aside from Lurch), but when he gets to the love song “Crazier Than You,” we believe it. Neal’s emotional powderkeg performance is award-worthy.
There are lots of ghoulish touches that add to the fun, including appearances by Thing and Cousin Itt, making this a perfect pre-Halloween treat.
Find the Addams Mansion on the Footlite stage at 1847 N. Alabama, downtown Indy, through Oct. 9. Info and tickets at footlite.org.
John L. Belden is Associate Editor at The Eagle (formerly The Word), the central-Indiana based Midwest LGBTQ news source.