Theater Review: Gateway’s ‘The Addams Family’ Keeps You Enthralled

Theater Review: Gateway’s ‘The Addams Family’ Keeps You Enthralled

The Gateway Playhouse is closing its summer season as they opened it—with a hit! The Addams Family will keep you enthralled from beginning to end with a story that is as compelling as it is hilarious.

The actors portraying the iconic Addams family— Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma and Lurch—are nearly flawless, bringing to life the characters we love. Gomez, the patriarch, is dashing and romantic, sarcastic and idealistic. Played by the talented David Engel, Gomez will have you laughing as he struggles to keep his daughter’s engagement a secret from his wife Morticia before finally realizing that he is “Trapped.”

Actress Rachel de Benedet, who appeared in The Addams Family on Broadway opposite Nathan Lane, reprises her role as Morticia Addams. De Benedet is delightful as the dark beauty, from her mincing steps in her figure-hugging dress to her dry wit that had me chuckling.

The show opens in the Addams’ graveyard, where the family summons their ancestors from behind the grave for an annual celebration. The riotous performance of “When You’re an Addams,” will have you clapping, singing and laughing along with the talented cast.

Shaun Rice as Uncle Fester

Shaun Rice as Uncle Fester. Photo credit: Jeff Bellante

Uncle Fester, Gomez’s portly, bald brother, acts as a narrator of sorts. He mischievously denies the ghosts re-entry into the underworld, beseeching them to help Wednesday Addams and her fiancé Lucas Beineke. Wednesday and Lucas want to get married but are terrified to tell their parents. Jen Fogarty as Wednesday Addams is a delight in every way, and I was pleasantly surprised by Fogarty’s clear, powerfully controlled voice. Wednesday confesses to us that her love for Lucas has her “Pulled” in a new direction.

Jen Fogarty as Wednesday and Bryan Welnicki as Lucas Beineke.

Jen Fogarty as Wednesday and Bryan Welnicki as Lucas Beineke. Photo credit: Jeff Bellante

The Addams’ find themselves entertaining Lucas’s parents for dinner, and Wednesday begs them to behave for “One Normal Night.” Most of the family members fail miserably (and hysterically.) Matthew Quinn as the tall, silent Lurch is uproariously funny, Amanda Bruton plays a perfect version of the disgustingly funny Grandma Addams and Ethan Eisenberg as Pugsley is oddly charming.

At dinner, the family and the Beinekes play “Full Disclosure.” Whoever drinks from the Addams Family Chalice must divulge a secret. Gomez and Wednesday try but fail to keep her engagement to Lucas a secret, sending Morticia into a fit because she cannot bear to be deceived, especially by her husband. Fester lightens the mood by declaring that he is in love with the moon. Pugsley inadvertently poisons Alice Beineke with a potion meant to bring out your bad side, which he had intended for Wednesday to drink.

After the disastrous dinner, the Beinekes attempt to leave, but Fester calls upon the ancestors to create a storm strong enough to force the Beinekes to stay the night. Gomez and Wednesday share a touching father-daughter moment in “Happy Sad,” where Gomez realizes his decidedly odd daughter has grown into a woman in love.

Wednesday and Lucas may have had their first fight, but they won’t give up on love. In “Crazier Than You,” Lucas lets Wednesday fire her crossbow—while blindfolded—at an apple perched on his head, as a show of trust. (Thank goodness Wednesday is a good shot!) Gomez and Morticia sizzle in the “Tango De Amor” and the duo reignite their passion for each other and promise to never again keep secrets.

With appearances by the hand Thing and hairy Cousin It, The Addams Family is everything you expect—funny, entertaining and a little gross at times. But in the end, love conquers all.

The Addams Family will be at The Gateway Playhouse, 215 S Country Road, Bellport through September 13. Visit gatewayplayhouse.com or call 631-286-0555 to purchase tickets.

The Addams Family.

The Addams Family. Photo credit: Jeff Bellante

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