By: Sean Ray | Asst. A&E Editor
Duquesne’s own Spotlight Musical Theatre premiered their musical for the spring season, The Addams Family, this past weekend and showed up with some really fantastic work. Spotlight really pulled out all the stops for this show, delivering hilarious jokes at every moment with some wonderful musical numbers and dance routines to boot.
The plot deals with Wednesday Addams, played by freshman Tylar Kowalewski, trying to set up a dinner between her family and the family of her boyfriend Lucas Beineke, played by senior Jeremy Feight, who is making his Spotlight debut. What follows is a series of wacky hijinks as the creepy, yet very close Addams interact with the “normal” but emotionally distant Beinekes.
The Addams are all wonderfully acted with special mention going to Jeff Johnston and Courtney Harkins, who play Gomez and Morticia Addams respectively. Jeff manages to perfectly nail the Spanish accent required of the role, never breaking it except for one high note during the opening song. His delivery is comedy gold, managing to jump from dead pan snark to absurdist humor in an instant. Harkins, meanwhile dominates any scene she is in, becoming a real show stealer.
Eric Rudel gives a very unique take on the character of Uncle Fester, really making the character into his own and bringing a lot of positive energy to the stage. Same goes for Jillian Lesaca as Pugsley Addams, who sadly does not get to maximize stage time like her fellow family members, but keeps you laughing every second she is on stage.
That is not to say the Addams are the only funny parts of the show. Carly Edman as Alice Beineke was a surprise hit, managing to both be funny while also perfectly portraying the plight of a mother whose husband has lost his way. And speaking of her husband, Christian Sesek as Mal Beineke plays the perfect straight man to Gomez’s hijinks, the two acting great as a comedy duo, particularly the scene in the Addams’s basement.
However, it wouldn’t be a musical without singing, and The Addams Family manages to deliver several memorable performances, ranging from funny to emotional to … well, really kind of weird.
The show starts strong with perhaps my favorite song of the show, “When You’re an Addams,” which brings you right into the strange and morbidly hilarious world of the Addams Family. “Full Disclosure” ends the first act and has everything go wrong for our heroes in the most entertaining way possible. I was surprised how well the actors were able to move and dance on the limited space around a dinner table. Finally, “Crazier Than You” is a great get-back-together song done in a way only an Addams would know how.
Another highlight of the show was, surprisingly, the set design. The show has a lot of great hand painted sets. You can really see the heart and soul poured into these pieces and are almost as much of the show as the actors themselves.
If there are any criticisms for the show, it has more to do with the script than the performance itself. The show is so funny in the first act, you may find yourself exhausted with laughter by the time the second act rolls around. Furthermore, certain characters are woefully underutilized, such as Lurch, played by Alex Ruiz, who managed to stir up a riot of laughter despite only really having one joke.
The Addams Family is definitely worth your time if you’re looking for a hilarious night. The show will be doing three more performances this week on March 27 and 28 in Rockwell Hall’s Peter Mills Theatre.