Cast n’ Crew returns to the stage with ‘The Addams Family’
“The Addams Family,” performed by Washington University’s Cast n’ Crew, is a play that enraptures the audience with its witty dark humor and memorable characters. The show explores the seemingly infinite boundaries of love and the everlasting importance of positive family relations. Wednesday Addams (Emma Lembke) falls in love with Lucas Beineke (Steph Berger), a “normal” boy that faces mixed scrutiny from the Addams family. Uncle Fester (Matthew Kalmans) and the Addams’ ancestors work to strengthen the unexpected relationship while Morticia (Maddie Plunk) and Pugsley Addams (Leah Fruchtman) stand repulsed at Wednesday’s profound infatuation.
Despite varying motivations and objectives, all characters were enjoyable to watch throughout the production. Even Mal Beineke (Jefferson Koonce), an initially rigid and unforgiving character who ridiculed the Addams and stood as a barrier between the two families, becomes an open-minded and benevolent individual that manages to revitalize his fragmented relationship with his wife. Each character evolves in one way or another: Pugsley comes to terms with her matured older sister, Gomez observes the importance of honesty and Alice Beineke (Kristy Allen) establishes a newfound sense of independence. Despite the flagrant difference between characters, each remains collaborative to some extent in the way they support each other. Morticia helps Pugsley to accept change in the family dynamics, Fester encourages Mal to shift to who he once was and Lucas sacrifices himself to instill Wednesday with trust in their relationship.
With its pale and bloody makeup, ragged costumes and spooky stage setup, the show is perfectly fitting for the Halloween season. At its commencement, the audience is familiarized with the mysterious nature of the Addams family. Eventually, the clearly depicted comparison between the sanguinity of the Beinekes and the creepiness of the Addams pulls the audience from their original acceptance and highlights the strange nature of the characters. The dichotomy between the two families proves comical as the audience watches the gradual unraveling of a disastrous dinner.
Perhaps what I most enjoyed about “The Addams Family” was its humor. While the scripted jokes were original, unexpected and funny, often with promiscuous undertones, the cast’s interpretations and execution of such jokes were also crucial. Lurch’s (Jacob Marks) grunts and sudden burst into song, Uncle Fester’s wig and prancing around stage with a football, Gomez Addams’s (Max Juhas) sheepish monologues and Grandma Addams’s (Arsema Belai) ambiguous presence were components that produced amusement and hilarity among audience members.
Ultimately, with its interactive execution and funny characters, “The Addams Family” had an engaging storyline that was steadfast in its comedic narrative as well as its twisting and turning progression.