the exercise room,
The newly formed group Happy Go Lucky Theatrical took on an impressive musical as their first venture and came away with truly awful success.
The Chepstow-based group have chosen a suitably macabre work to debut on Halloween, transforming Chepstow’s quiet Drill Hall into the spooky Central Park mansion of the Addam family for four ghastly shows, including two matinees.
Based on the hit TV series and featuring familiar characters, this macabre spectacle delved into the depths of darkness to underscore the somewhat uncomfortable but nonetheless true adage that death may be just around the corner but love, however strange and in whatever form, conquers all.
At the heart of the production’s undoubted success is Jon Snow’s dazzling performance as Gomez Addams, ably backed up by sinister wife Morticia (Hazel Guppy).
This bloodiest of shows crackles and gurgles to a blood-splattered rhythm, seeming to stop only to breathe and allow applause from the elated and enthusiastic audience.
The brilliant Carla Brice, as love-torn Wednesday Addams, sounds like an angel or should she be a specter as she conjures up a plan to persuade her parents to allow her to marry Lucas Beineke ( Marcus James).
The compact but well-equipped stage is almost overflowing with ghouls and zombies at times, but the wonderful choreography orchestrated by Maxi Snow ensures that everyone, despite the constraints and intricacies of their jaw-dropping costumes, remains deadly precise.
Isla Richards, as Wednesday’s jealous brother, Pugsley, split the auditorium with her piercing screams while enduring torture also has a beautiful voice while the towering Lurch (Jake Brice) maintained an ever-present brooding darkness.
Moon-loving Uncle Fester (Nick Taylor) took home the honors for the barniest character with the most authentic American accent and the wonderful Grandma Addams (Michelle Brice) rushed in to fiendishly dispense her glorious sadness.
Ancestors Megan Evans, Niamh Jenkins, Jade Maber and Anna Williams shone as the star dancers and Amanda Osmond blew the general public almost out of their collective skin as the Grim Reaper and the airy, howling splicing Queen Ancestor. Fellow squishy ancestors Harry Evans, Phillippa Hickey, James Taylor and Lucy Webb, ensured a steady supply of chills were spread evenly across the stage throughout the evening.
Love’s target parents Alice and Mal Beineke (Maxi Stow and Edward Preece), ‘ordinary people’, rekindled their teenage romance by wearing a tie-up headband and Grateful Dead t-shirt with a little d help from Grandma Addams’ mistakenly swallowed potion.
The score and beat move by as fast as a chainsaw with smooth scene changes adding to the fluidity of this excellent two and a half hour production.
Beth Blanchard’s costumes and Maxi Stow’s awe-inspiring makeup, Marianne Bowen, and Kevin Allen’s lighting all deserve a special mention for mastering a complex request and some great sounds conjured up by Chris Burt and Hazel Guppy.
Although the newest members of Happy Go Lucky Theatrical are no strangers to treading the musical boards. On this odd evidence and using the musical as a launch pad, can we now expect more entertainment of a similar or even better level in the future? I hope.
- A raffle was held during performances to help raise money for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital after it cared for President Nick Taylor’s daughter. When she was two years old, a cyst was found on her brain and successfully operated on.