Advertisement

The Addams Family review: Michelle Visage and Ramin Karimloo sizzle up the stage

Ramin Karimloo as Gomez Addams & Michelle Visage as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family live in concert
Ramin Karimloo as Gomez Addams & Michelle Visage as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family live in concert

Like Anjelica Huston in the Addams Family movies and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Wednesday TV series before her, Michelle Visage was born to play Morticia Addams. Her dark beauty and deadpan delivery coupled with a take-no-shit attitude make Michelle totally suited to play the goth queen icon who’s an outsider to everyone except her delightfully macabre family.

An icon herself to the LGBTQ+ community, our lady of perpetual fabulousness is an almost otherwordly talent who somehow remains down-to-earth. We loved her as Miss Hedge in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, where she struggled a bit with the Yorkshire accent but was otherwise completely in character as the school teacher who worries about the titular hero attending prom in a frock. She didn’t have much to do, though; a bit of rap here, the ‘Work of Art’ big number there, and just one dramatic scene in the second act.

The Addams Family – The Musical Comedy is a much bigger showcase for her acting chops and singing voice. As Morticia in a three-performance-only live concert version, she’s following in the footsteps of Bebe Neuwirth, which is a daunting prospect and an occasion to which Visage rises with customary aplomb.

Drag Race contestants take note. The hair is long and straight and streaked with grey, the eyes darkly mascara-ed, the dress jet black with ragged sleeves and fitted like a glove. You wouldn’t want to mess with her, which is just as it should be for a matriarch who has always represented a smouldering mix of sexuality, danger, and fierce individuality.

Michelle’s leading man on stage is Ramin Karimloo (he of the impressive voice) as Morticia’s husband Gomez, to whom daughter Wednesday (relative newcomer Chumisa Dornford-May, suitably petulant if a bit shouty) confesses she’s fallen in love. There isn’t much of a plot. Wednesday’s beau is a normy who brings along his parents for a meet-the-family dinner that naturally goes awry. And plotting is pretty much AWOL after the interval, with the joy more in the comedy and catchy songs.

Visage’s delivery of the script’s many one-liners is perfect and her singing soars. She’s matched by Karimloo, who gives great Gomez. Known for the deadly serious likes of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, he displays fantastic comic timing. And when he and Visage do a sultry tango, they’re a dream team who sizzle up the stage.

On Broadway, where I saw Neuwirth and Nathan Lane, it felt a bit hollow and overblown. Stripped of fussy scenery, it works much better. Wednesday’s infatuation with a cookie-cutter bore doesn’t make sense but the show is a pleasurable romp with some dark twists. It has toured the UK before but never had a full run in the West End, so here’s hoping some savvy producer can lure Visage to return to a role that fits her like that curve-hugging black dress.

The Addams Family – The Musical Comedy Live in Concert is at the London Palladium for two more performances on 13 February. Get tickets here.

The post The Addams Family review: Michelle Visage and Ramin Karimloo sizzle up the stage appeared first on Attitude.