The Addams Family – Review


Lisa Dreher


Following up from the whimsical Spamalot the previous year, Keller High’s theatre department traded in their medieval mischief and satirical sword brawls for a darker humor and relatable fears in the new musical comedy, The Addams Family.

Opening up with the family center stage, they sing their declaration of their creepy lifestyle in “When You’re an Addams.” Purple and green lights shine on the actors and actresses’ heavily made up faces, their ghostly-white complexion and black eyes a work of hair/makeup captain Dina Karruli.

TJ Little, a well-renowned actor in Keller’s theatre, plays Uncle Fester, the large, bald, pale optimist who glides around the stage with surprising agility, trying to help everyone as much as he can.

Gomez Addams, played by Grayson Merchant, is the protective father with a heavy Spanish accent, which he traces back to his beloved ancestors constantly throughout the play. He attempts to control the family under the glare of his stern but in her own subtle, twisted ways, compassionate Morticia, played by Katie Howrey.

Wednesday Addams, played by Natalie Renfro, embodies all that is evil: shooting birds, torturing her brother, wearing black. Yet, she finds love with preppy, common-man Mal Beineke (Shawn Ralph).

Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley (Zack Murry), mopes around and hopes for more childish fights with his sister, which typically result in her torturing him, to his delight. Despite their picking and bickering, he fears Wednesday leaving him for her suburban significant other.

And then there is Grandma, portrayed by Brittany Tomlinson, who provides potions and comedic relief in her old-age jokes and oblivious manner. Butler Lurch, played by Joseph Hybarger, grunts and stares ahead at the audience in grumpiness.

Wednesday and Mal’s relationship border a Romeo and Juliet scenario, with the two families clashing over family values and choice of real estate. Wednesday begs her father to keep the secret that she will marry Mal, and so he is torn between telling his wife (who would forbid it) and keeping it to himself.

In a sign of hospitality, the Addams invite the Beinekes over for dinner, in which we are introduced to the chipper romantic and Mal’s mother, Alice (Kaylee Rogers), and straight-laced, cynical family man Lucas (Ryan Lee), Mal’s father.

The story relies on the hashing out of both of the family’s problems and their backgrounds, as Wednesday and Mal plan to spend their life together away from their set expectations.

Secrets are spilled and chaos ensues, but not without the talented cast synchronizing their voices into a complete, well-orchestrated message about family and independence, and prejudice and human mistakes.