Theater review: ‘The Addams Family’ by Hendersonville Community Theatre

WEIRD IS RELATIVE: The Addams Family bring their kooky, quirky ways to Hendersonville Community the Theatre's stage in time for Halloween. Photo by John Owens

It’s finger snapping theme song is recognizable across multiple generations and now the classic, black-and-white era TV show comes to the stage. Hendersonville Community Theatre produces The Addams Family: A New Musical likely to be a graveyard smash — through Sunday, Nov. 3.

The show debuted in 2009 and tests the boundaries of the term “musical,” but that’s only a minor quibble with this enjoyable yet perplexing production. Directed locally by Lisa Gerber, the cast is, overall, a talented bunch, and clearly enjoy what they are doing. However, the show is mostly made up of teenagers playing adult leads. Sure, “Junior” variations of nearly every popular musical, geared toward the younger performers and audiences, can be found. However, The Addams Family is not a Junior edition, and is filled with winking innuendo and some adult themes that are tough to watch teenagers perform.

These kids deserve credit for being up to the challenge. Harrison Burnette and Jayna Gerber have great chemistry and timing as Gomez and Morticia Addams, the delightfully deranged parents. College-aged Claire Estes performs a perfectly goofy Grandma, and Cody Pero’s Uncle Fester romps through the show offering ongoing commentary with a wacky band of ancestral ghosts resurrected from the graveyard at the top of the show. As the strong, silent type, more age-appropriate Randy Robbins delights as the moaning butler, Lurch.

Cassidy Bowen’s Wednesday Addams is the stand out of the show. Between terrorizing her perfectly cast little brother Pugsly (Liam Barrett), and keeping her parents at odds over her confessions of true love for a neighborhood boy, she is the center on which the show pivots, and she holds it with confidence. Samuel Anchia is her new boyfriend, Lucas, who brings his parents (Devon West and Jaylan Brinson) to meet the Addams family. Hilarity ensues as the families get to know one another, and face the reality of their children’s love for each other.

Brinson, as Alice Beineke, brings down the house with a magic potion-induced number that ends with her atop the dinner table.

The grand and Gothic sensibilities of the show are under-realizedono the HCT stage, which may be a bit too small for something of this scope. The music is recorded — therefore no live orchestra is used — which leaves the musical aspect feeling a little lacking. Still, HCT’s ambition is to be admired. One walks away impressed by the pluckiness and the potential the theater so proudly displays.

WHAT: The Addams Family: A New Musical
WHERE: Hendersonville Community Theatre, 229 S. Washington St., Hendersonville,
WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., through Sunday, Nov. 3. $20-$30


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About Jeff Messer
playwright, actor, director and producer, Jeff Messer has been most recently known as a popular radio talk show host. He has been a part of the WNC theatre scene for over 25 years, and actively works with and supports most of the theatres throughout the region. Follow me @jeffdouglasmess

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4 thoughts on “Theater review: ‘The Addams Family’ by Hendersonville Community Theatre

  1. Jeff Messer

    The second paragraph should have the word “new” in the quotes with “musical” for that line to make sense. FYI

  2. Theatre Lover

    A very nice review, which alerts readers/potential viewers of what to expect. The age of the performers seems to be a theme of the reviewer but not sure how this is relevant. Is the theatre offering this as a “youth theatre” production, or is it part of its “mainstage” series? This theatre lover dislikes the idea of “junior” productions of musicals. Do the “real” thing instead of a stripped-down version. Many an all-adult cast is not up to the challenge of major musicals. But they still try.
    In the photograph, the actors appear to be credible ages for their characters.

    • Jeff Messer

      For clarification: The cast was mostly teen-aged. The show was NOT a JR edition or version of the show, this was the fully adult Addams Family. And yes, I took exception to an adult show being cast with teens as a main stage show (not a youth production). Part of the review process is to make sure that people who read the review are as fully aware as possible ahead of choosing to see any show. And the casting of kids in adult roles felt like something that needed to be brought to potential audience members’ attention.

  3. Blaine Greenfield

    Thanks for this insightful review. And for the fact that you continue to run reviews of local theatre productions. These help me determine my weekend plans.

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