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Addams Family cast end tour at Orchard Theatre, Dartford, without Les Dennis

By John Nurden

What better way to round off a national tour of The Addams Family than to play Kent’s Orchard Theatre on Halloween?

To be honest, I preferred The Munsters on TV. But The Addams Family had the better theme tune, a creepy hand called Thing and the vampirish Morticia who always stole my heart.

In this tour, the elegant Samantha Womack, who suffered a watery death in EastEnders as Ronnie Mitchell, takes on the monster role of the kooky family’s Mum.

Samantha Womack as Morticia Addams

Samantha Womack as Morticia Addams

Joining her on stage last night (Halloween) should have been comedy legend Les Dennis, who has spent the past three years as burglar-turned- Romeo Michael Rodway in ITV’s Coronation Street.

Unfortunately, he was "indisposed" and the role of the dome-headed Uncle Fester was taken by understudy Scott Paige who slotted in perfectly.

Orchard spokesman Michelle King said: "Les is not in the show due to unforeseen circumstances."

No further information was available. It is believed the comedian, who also pulled out of the show's run at Wolverhampton, will  not return to the role. 

Carrie Hope Fletcher, last seen playing Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, put in a fine performance as daughter Wednesday Addams who is growing up so quickly "she will soon be Thursday."

Valda Aviks, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cameron Blakely, Dickon Gough, Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Grant McIntyre in the Addams Family. Picture Matt Martin

Valda Aviks, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cameron Blakely, Dickon Gough, Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Grant McIntyre in the Addams Family. Picture: Matt Martin

The princess of darkness tells her dad Gomez (Cameron Blakely) she is engaged to a "normal" young man called Lucas (Oliver Ormstrong).

But can harrassed husband Gomez keep the secret from his wife until Lucas and Wednesday break the news to everyone else over a family dinner?

When interrogated by his raven-haired wife Morticia, Gomez vows: "If I am keeping anything from you, may I be struck by lightning."

He is more surprised than anyone else when that is exacly what happens.

This show is packed with Ben Cracknell's brilliant lighting effects and many comedy one-liners. But it also packs a moral - don't keep secrets.

It takes a twist when Lucas's mum Alice (played the talented Charlotte Page) drinks the wrong potion and starts telling a few home truths.

Cameron Blakeley as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia in The Addams Family

Cameron Blakeley as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia in The Addams Family

Those expecting a laugh-laden show like the TV series may be in for a disappointment. It is strangely serious at times with some quite poignant moments.

I don't think I'm giving too much away to say it all ends happily ever after, although there is no way I will reveal what Lurch, the family's cadaverous butler played by the giant Dickon Gough, does for his party piece.

The show also features Valda Aviks as Grandma and Grant McIntyre as the Addams' son Pugsley.

At times there were so many cliches I thought it might be one huge joke - a sort of Rocky Horror meets Les Miserables.

The surprising thing was just how superb all the singing was.

It was created by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice who came up with The Jersey Boys. Andrew Lippa wrote the words and music.

The show, based on Charles Addams' comic book family from the 1930s, is produced by Aria Entertainment and Music and Lyrics in association with The Festival Theatre Edinburgh. This version made its Broadway debut in 2010.

Matthew White directs and uses Diego Pitrach's ingenious dark set to bring this weird world to life. Alistair David's choreography is tight and strong.

The show has picked up mixed reviews. It might not be a Thriller but it's a fun night out with a great band. And Tuesday's audience was left wanting more.

The Addams Family runs until Saturday. A few tickets are left for Friday from www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.

The Addams Family comedy musical. Picture Matt Martin

The Addams Family comedy musical. Picture: Matt Martin

 

Les Dennis as Uncle Fester

Les Dennis as Uncle Fester

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