Gothic glamour comes to Glenalmond for a show-stopping production

Glenalmond’s senior musical comedy production, of the eponymous freaky family, leapt from the school stage in an hilarious and moving extravaganza, leaving audiences laughing and crying in equal measure over four packed nights…

Meet the Addams. A wealthy New York clan with a penchant for the macabre (who else would harbour the enigmatic silent butler, Lurch (Angus F), and a torture chamber in their parlour?). The family are unashamed of their eccentric predilections as, cool as a mortuary slab, Morticia (Rosie F) proclaims that “Addams have to have a taste for death”.

However, change is in the air and, like most moribund institutions, the family baulk at the arrival of the boyfriend of their pale-faced troubled teen daughter, Wednesday (Katie B).  Fresh-faced beau, Lucas Beineke, (Tom M U), is the polar opposite of his intended spouse, as a preppy college student from, shock horror, Ohio. “A swing state, pah” spits devilishly diplomatic Latino father, Gomez (Harri R) whose facial muscles must surely have ached by the end of the show with the sheer breadth of his repertoire.

Like a jolly funeral, Glenalmond’s assured musical comedy tugged at your every emotion. Actors’ body language and every nuanced inference drew you into the spider at the centre of their web. Result: a two hour Gothic roller-caster that definitely should have come with a mascara warning.

The story hinges on the introduction of the two unlikely families, turning ‘a simple dinner party into a night from hell’ in their crumbling, Gothic pile in Central Park.

Alex M’s charming portrayal of the Stepfordesque wife Alice, gently lured audiences into the world of make believe middle-America, while her anxiety-riddled husband Mal (Angus G) attempted to mask his insecurities with tightly delivered proclamations: “We’re just simple folks Mr Addams, not a sophisticated bunch like you!”

It wasn’t all high-octane sound and script: Uncle Fester (Alexander W), beautifully portrayed a slightly lonely figure as a “Fat, bald person with no specific gender” in love with the moon. Through his gentle narrative of family life, along with the help of several ‘dead’ relatives, added a note of depth and poignancy to the family’s chaotic proceeding: “It’s a dream come true when the moon says I love you.”

Not to be forgotten, the “103 years and still going strong” Grandma Addams (Alice G) charmingly bestowed a healthy dose of familial wisdom and saved the melancholy, and rather self-indulgent, Pugsley (Max B) from one too many trips to the psychiatrist’s couch!

This was an enormously ambitious production, pulled together in a little over a month by Head of Drama, Charlie Youlten, Lauren Kirk and Director of Music Dr Tim Ridley.

Twenty compelling numbers, delivered by a faultless pupil band (Conrad I, Charlie B, Ben B and Rory R), carried this slick-scripted and beautifully executed musical, belying the youthful performers. As if that wasn’t enough aspiration, four of the cast (George B, Angus F, James H and Miles K) had to combine gruelling rehearsals with their training for the 1st XV Scottish Schools Cup final at Murrayfield three days later. What a week!

Mairi Fraser

Take a look at the gallery of photos from the show

Addams review 2