The Addams Family is a well loved family classic. From the 1960’s TV series, to the 1990’s film adaptations, everyone has had them in their lives at some point. In 2010, a Broadway Musical version was brought to life by composer Andrew Lippa starring Nathan Lane. Various amateur productions have been staged in the UK since then but it wasn’t until last year that the UK premiere of the professional production went out on a UK Tour. The show went on to win the 2017 West End Wilma Award for Best Touring Production. A French version of the show is now playing at Le Palace until January 2018 and I went along to check it out!
Wednesday Addams is a young woman and has fallen in love with a boy called Lucas. They are going to be married but there is just one obstacle in their way. The two, seemingly different, sets of parents have to meet first. If you know the Addams Family then you will know that acting normal is not something they are good at but when Wednesday begs them to act like a regular american family, they do their best but with disasterous and hilarious concequences. All they have to get through is one dinner together, which is surely possible. Until Morticia mentions playing ‘the game’ that is! Can these two families get along for the sake of their children? Or will they perhaps realise they have more in common than they think?
My French isn’t brilliant at the moment but I know enough to get by. I’ve also seen the musical version of the show five times over the years and so I’m familiar enough with the story to know what’s going on. What surprised me was how different some of the songs sounded in French. Uncle Fester’s solo number in act two about being in love with the moon was much more enjoyable in French that in English for me and many of the other songs sounded like the flowed much better in a different language.
The cast were all very good, although I was confused as to why Pugsley was being played by a girl and not a boy. Sex aside, she was also wearing a very padded outfit and wore a horrible yellow wig and sounded like one of the Krankies when she spoke. A bit of a bizarre casting choice I thought but the acting abilities couldn’t be faulted. Vocally, many of the cast fell below what I would like to see but overall it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the piece.
The Addams Family is a great musical with some brilliant songs that sound even better in French than they do in English. Well worth a visit if you’re in Paris this Christmas but beware, the theatre does not have a bar!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Stéphane Parphot