By Megan Horgan, Loudoun Valley High School
To be an Addams it takes passion, power, and a love for the darker side of things. Woodgrove High School’s production of “The Addams Family” did a fantastic job displaying what it means to be an Addams.
When Wednesday Addams, their mischievous 18 year old daughter, falls in love with a “regular” boy from Ohio, the two families try to find some understanding for each other over dinner. But a little secret, some potion, and a visit from the dead bring more turmoil to the evening than any of them expected. “The Addams Family” first appeared as cartoon strips from the incredibly imaginative Charles Addams in 1938. After its success as multiple renditions as a TV series, cartoons, and an Addams Family movie, this kooky family finally took the Broadway stage in 2010. It was written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music written by Andrew Lippa. Surprisingly, “The Addams Family” brought in mostly negative reviews and closed after 722 performances, but was revived in Chicago in 2015.
Lukas D’Errico (Gomez Addams) displayed a powerful presence on stage and awed the audience with his beautifully strong voice. D’Errico showed a true understanding of his character though each motion he made. Every hand gesture, step, or glance of the eye had a clear, specific purpose. Through this, D’Errico dominated the stage and the audience picked up on his strong, charismatic persona. Carolina Kirkpatrick (Morticia Addams) and D’Errico created beautiful, teasing chemistry on stage. Their interactions as husband and wife were genuine and authentic, making the audience long for a love as passionate and strong as theirs. Kirkpatrick drew the audience in with her mesmeric voice and made the story clear. Kirkpatrick also displayed notable dancing and commitment to her character in her movements.
Grace Harkins (Alice Beineke) was another dynamic voice that blew the audience away. Her powerful vocals dominated the space, making her shining moments some of the most memorable parts of the show. Caroline Roden (Grandma Addams) and Jonathan Wilkerson (Uncle Fester) each created stand-out, fun characters. Roden was able to deliver the old age of the Grandma through her physicality, but still carry that crazy-lady spunk. Wilkerson created a memorable character through his success in comedic lines. He displayed a true sense of comedic timing, allowing the audience to consistently pick up on his hilarious one-liners. Wyatt Blauer (Lurch) had the audience laughing with each motion he made, despite never saying a word. His physicality, yet limited, told his story effectively without dominating the stage too much, until his moment to shine finally came.
The actors couldn’t have properly delivered their creepy, kooky characteristics without the help of the tech crew. The sharp cues of Tony Peyton’s lighting design aided to the storytelling throughout the show, and helped establish the ghoulish feel of the Addams.
Through powerful vocals, dynamic character choices, and beautifully thought out lighting, Woodgrove High School conjured up a fantastic production. The charisma and drive of the actors had the audience wanting to join them in moving toward the darkness.
[This review of the April 28 performance at Woodgrove High School is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]