Review: Wandernook Theatre Presents “The Addams Family”

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●      Shawn Stalter, Chief Dallas/Fort Worth Critic

MCKINNEY, TEXAS - The bright, sunny and hot Texas summer afternoon suddenly grew chilly, dark and gloomy as the cast of Wandernook Theatre’s production of “The Addams Family” took the stage. Together, cast and crew, under the direction of Amanda Durbin, resurrected one of our favorite, ghoulishly-macabre families from the grave.

The musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elic and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, transports audiences to the dimly-lit, spiderweb-clad, creepy Addams manor. Here, 18-year old “Wednesday” Addams prepares to host her love interest, “Lucas Beineke,” and his salt-of-the-earth Ohio family, for a dinner party where the young couples’ parents will meet for the first time. The ensuing tension brings two vastly different worlds colliding together in a deliciously-dark musical comedic romp.  

Although “The Addams Family” is an interesting choice for this time of year due to the macabre themes and ghoulish costuming which typically accompanies Halloween, in Wandernook’s hands, it delivers a production relevant enough for any day of the year. The role of the pasty, passionate patriarch, “Gomez Addams,” was well performed by Mike Egan. His dynamic stage presence, fueled by swashbuckling passion and vocal talent, offered a real highlight for this show.

The Addams’ daughter, “Wednesday Addams,” performed by the talented Kristen Purvis offered up powerful and beautiful vocal talent along with amusing characterization, boosting the overall production. Her interaction with real-life love interest, Matt Purvis, who performs the role of “Lucas Beineke,” was well-rounded. “Wednesday’s” brother, the sadistically-mischievous, “Pugsley Addams,” was powerfully brought to life in Caleb McCoulskey’s vivid stage presence and remarkable vocal talent.

“Alice’s” husband, “Mal,” achieved great things in the hands of George Phillips III. He was utterly convincing as a disconnected husband and father who forgot his youth and the romance he once cherished with his wife. Phillips expertly navigated his character’s transition from burnt out to burning with passion’s fire.

The dynamic ensemble of the “Ancestors” conjured some chilling choreography and eerily-electrifying vocals as imagined by the talented musical director, Jared Duncan. Although the celebrated fiery romance between “Gomez” and “Morticia” didn’t quite translate on the stage, and the cast and crew were forced to power through unfortunate technical glitches, Wandernook’s “The Addams Family” was full of enough comedy and vocal talent to entertain fans eager to move toward the light-hearted darkness.

 

“The Addams Family,” directed by Amanda Durbin, runs through June 30th, 2019 at Wandernook Theatre and stars Mike Egan as “Gomez Addams,” Darla Meek as “Morticia Addams,” Jim Pikl as “Uncle Fester,” Kristen Purvis as “Wednesday Addams,” Caleb McCoulskey as “Pugsley Addams,” Mellisa Couture as “Grandma,” Brad Merkle as “Lurch,” George Phillip, III in the role of “Mal Beineke,” Danna Rushing as “Alice Beineke,” and Matt Purvis as “Lucas Beineke.”

The show also features Olivia Andrade, Justin Brungardt, Madison Callaway, Whitney Hollowell, Kyra Jacobs, Ivy Koval, Matt Maxwell, Emily Pope and Rachel Smith as the“Ancestors.”

Reserve your ticket to an upcoming show of “The Addams Family” and learn more about future Wandernook productions by visiting www.wandernook.com

Photo credit:  Azure Photography