The Davis clan has done it again. Their production of The Addams Family at the Pickleville Playhouse in Bear Lake is an absolute delight.
The Davis family has traditionally staged two shows in repertory at their rustic playhouse over the summer, and then taken other productions on the road to Logan and Salt Lake City during the winter months. The Addams Family is the first ever production at Pickleville Playhouse in the autumn. Judging from its sold-out opening weekend, a fall show there is an idea whose time has come. The wind off the lake was chilly for patrons clustered outside the playhouse’s dinky lobby, but the musical was hot.
The Addams Family, which debuted on Broadway in 2010, brings to life all the bizarre characters from the cartoons drawn by Charles Adams for the New Yorker Magazine for 50 years starting in 1938.
Director Derek Davis wisely decided to cast himself as Gomez Addams, the debonair but wildly off-center titular head of the Addams family. Although the ability to act, sing and dance seems to be hard-wired into the DNA of members of the theatrical Davis clan, juggling a lead role and the responsibilities of directing a musical is still no mean feat. Kudos to Derek Davis for superb work in both those capacities.
Since her director wisely chose to cast his real-life wife as his stage wife, Whitley Osborne Davis appears as Mortica Addams. The couple’s on-stage chemistry is both obvious and hilarious.
Under a skin-tight black sheath dress, Mortica amusingly wears the pants in the Addams family. Gomez isn’t aware of that, of course, since he doesn’t even know that Mortica has legs. But both realities become obvious as The Addams Family unfolds.
Another bit of brilliant but possibly biased casting put Kenzie Davis into the role of the sweetly homicidal Wednesday Addams. She is a total live-wire as a would-be bride who only wants her family to fake being normal long enough to secure the blessing of her future in-laws. Kenzie Davis has a dynamite voice, dead-on comic timing and a commanding stage presence.
Other cast stand-outs are young Hayden Davis as the precocious masochist Pugsly Addams; Tyler Matthew Campbell as the moon-struck Uncle Fester; James Case as the towering butler Lurch; Andrea Davis as the demented Grandma Addams; and Whitney Davis Folkerson as Alice, a down-trodden wife who proves to have hidden depths.
Nate Heaps and Shayne Taylor round out the cast as Wednesday’s intended and his stuffed-shirt father respectively. Also on-hand are Sharli Davis King, Chelsea Davis Haynie, Joshua Goodrum-Green and Tristan Berg as corpses who can still do lively song-and-dance numbers.
A clever set design by Daniel Simons makes the most of the limited space on the Pickleville stage, and the show’s lighting and special effects are equally effective.
The only member of the Addams family missing from The Addams Family is the disembodied hand Thing who is sadly represented by just a still photograph image. There are apparently limits even to the miracles that the Davis family can perform on stage.
Final performances of The Addams Family will be staged at the Pickleville Playhouse on Friday and Saturday of this week.