As the house lights dim, and audience members join in with the iconic two clicks within the first thirty seconds of the prologue, you know you’re in for a comedic performance ahead. It is evident that cult-fans of the big screen’s darkest and peculiar family are in the room, by the electric laughter and thunderous applause at every twisted joke the characters make. However, the arrival of Gomez and Morticia, portrayed by the esteemed Ramin Karimloo and the renowned Michelle Visage, commands a full-house applause, emphasising the fandom the duo bring through the doors of the Palladium for this two-day special. 


Throughout the performance, we are met with high-standard production value across the board, making it easy to forget that you are only at a concert version of the musical. Diego Pitarch's costume designs are a highlight, with their varied and intricate details perfectly matching the dark yet somehow vibrant aesthetic of the Addams Family's world. This gothic world is heightened by Ben Cracknell’s stylised lighting design, adding depth and atmosphere with every beam that cuts through the smoke-filled stage. 


The book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice doesn’t necessarily push any boundaries, but it does offer sheer entertainment from the ghoulish family. With beautifully curated numbers by the renowned composer Andrew Lippa, we are entrapped into the world of the Addams Family with his famous catchy hits, like When You’re an Addams, and brilliant comedic timing in his music, such as in Wednesday’s Growing Up. Although bordering on cheesy, Lippa’s absurd lyrics really give you a taste into the Addams’ sadistic way of life. 

This feels like a rather glamourous production, not only being staged at the iconic London Palladium, but also due to its star-studded cast. Karimloo’s esteemed vocals frequently showed their range in moments as Gomez, although potentially a little young to be cast as this head of the family. There is no doubt that Visage looks the part, but her acting performance is potentially overshadowed by her partner. We also have the brilliant Lesley Joseph as Grandma. A great selection of names to give this musical the attention is deserves.  


Although almost every aspect of the production was brilliant, there were certain performances that truly stole the spotlight. Among them, Chumisa Dornford-May's portrayal of Wednesday stands out, as she delivers a fiery rendition of Pulled. Equally remarkable is Kara Lane's portrayal of Alice Beineke, whose initially tame and conservative character surprises the audience with a sudden burst of operatic intensity during Waiting, showcasing Lane's powerhouse vocals. And not to forget, Sam Buttery’s hilarious presentation of Uncle Fester. Every moment Buttery has on stage is met with high energy, and their comedic moments are always perfectly timed. 


Some audience members would certainly question what makes the show a concert version, and not a fully-fledged production. Although still of a high standard, the set is certainly minimal, with no flys or large set pieces being wheeled on and off stage like a traditional developed production. That being said, we are still met with large props and furniture, such as the fully set dining table, which certainly blurs the line of what a concert version of a show would feel like. Apart from the frequently clipped sound and uneven levels, often found in concert productions when the show only has half a day to load in, there isn’t anything else to suggest that this isn’t a regular West End production. 


If the standard of this show is this high at only a concert version, it is certain that audiences would be far from disappointed if it develops further for a well-awaited future West End run. 

Photo: Pamela Raith