A family without strife and closeted skeletons is like a Montreal winter without snow. It’s pretty close to unheard of. And for a family named Addams, they have no qualms about revealing the truly odd facets to their overall dynamic, and decades before it was hip and trendy to do so. This might be the procedure de rigueur anyway when your brood boasts an uncle that is able to produce electricity corporeally, such as illuminating a light bulb merely by inserting it into his mouth. Slightly off-kilter units are now the norm, but the unchallenged originators and innovators of this honest, though fantastical, look at familial composition, have to be the Addams Family, through their various incarnations in television, film, comic strips, and now on stage as well, fortuitously for our fair city.
Thanks to the West Island Theatre Association’s (WISTA) tireless efforts over the last twelve years, theatergoers have been treated to stage delight after stage delight, and now the talented troupe fearlessly offers up their take on the kooky conglomeration of caustic characters, a delicious detour into the macabre with a splashy spin on the iconic Addams Family. This darkly delightful drama, based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, have temporarily transformed the hallowed hallways of Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds into mostly downright spooky and altogether ooky.
Musicals and the macabre, it arguably does go together like love and marriage, and love is the central theme for this Addams Family adventure, as prodigal daughter Wednesday finds a mate on the more conventional side of the cauldron – in the form of the refreshingly average all-(North) American boy Lucas. Hence, the idea is hatched that a dinner should be held bringing the two most polar opposite families this side of Antigua and Antarctica of the love struck couple together to establish some common ground. What neither side knows is that the ground will soon give way and chaos and high kilter emotions will take over and run amok as the inner psyches of two broods, one bizarre to the extreme and the other coated with a misleading veneer of run-of-the-mill, begin to unravel before a mesmerized audience’s collective eyes.
Helping along the journey is a mega talented musical ensemble, in the form of a lush, full orchestra under the superb direction of Sara Wunsch and Malika Pharand, with Debora Friedmann offering up astoundingly auspicious artistic direction and crispy, taut, top flight choreography. And what to say of the exquisitely expansive cast and their collective talents portraying favourites like Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday of course and her eccentric genius of a brother Pugsley, among various other unconventional (to say the least) ancestors of the off-center clan, as well as serious love interest Lucas and his rather poignant postmodern parents Mal and Alice. The actors are expertly passionate and seem to revel in the splendor of the spectacle.
The Addams brood was undoubtedly weird before weird was everywhere. And WISTA’s production of the Addams Family musical captures said weirdness in an unabashedly wonderful way, with excellent performances, awe-inspiring orchestration, lush choreography, captivating musical numbers, and a rather unique take on the maxim that love conquers all.
It will be delighting and spooking audiences at Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds until June 16th. Visit WISTA.ca for more information or e-mail info@WISTA.ca .