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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

On Friday, the 24th of March, I had the absolute pleasure of watching the annual LAMMPS musical, ‘The Addams Family’, directed by Ruth Rusnak, assistant directed by Kate Gerrard, and produced by Henry Marshall, in association with LUU’s Backstage Society. The show centres around the gothic family themselves, and their eldest daughter, Wednesday, who has fallen in love with Lucas Beineke, a sweet and smart boy who belongs to a normal and respectable Ohioan family. The play follows the Beineke family’s invitation to the Addams family’s home for dinner, during which relationships are tested, and secrets revealed.

Like most people in the audience, I had watched Tim Burton’s ‘Wednesday’ last year and fell in love with it.  Thus, I simply could not have been more excited to see these beloved characters brought to life in the Riley Smith Theatre. I had myself been in a production of this show in 2019 (in which the amount of dry ice set off the theatre’s smoke alarm), so needless to say, I was very familiar with the source material. Having never watched a LAMMPS show before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, given the immense workload of most of their members who are medics. However, this performance was without a doubt one of the best shows I have seen in Leeds so far, and the record-breaking ticket sales proves that I was not alone in that opinion.

The audience, upon walking in, were greeted at the door by two ghoulish Ancestors, members of the Addams Family from generations past. Just witnessing the level of detail evident in the costumes and the makeup of these cast members guaranteed a night of high quality entertainment. 

The opening song, “When You’re an Addams”, offered an introduction to nearly the entire cast. Immediately I was struck by how well everyone suited their roles, with Henry Marshall and Maria McCarthy as Gomez and Morticia Addams commanding the stage effortlessly with natural chemistry, setting the tone for the next two hours. The Ancestors then entered one by one through the right door of the downstage, which was aptly decorated to form a crypt. Each ensemble member had their own personalised costume and makeup, which was a unique touch I loved – a special shout out to Chris Bache’s Caveman, Alex Howe’s Conquistador and Hannah Byrne’s Bride, which were absolutely flawless. Kate Gerrard clearly put in so much love and effort into personalising the makeup of each and every one of the ensemble members, and that certainly did not go unnoticed by anyone in the audience.

As the rest of the show progressed, each of the main actors showcased their talents. Mirra Kirthivasan was an excellent Wednesday Addams, reminiscent of Jenna Ortega in her deadpan delivery and intense eye contact one minute, and then belting and leading musical numbers in the very next. She was very believable as Marshall’s daughter, and their moments together were some of my favourites in the show.

Marshall himself took on the roles of producer and leading man with absolute professionalism and charm – it is so clear that this show was a labour of love for him. The show was definitely aesthetically pleasing – the set of the show in particular, designed by Backstage’s Ailsa Philbin and Shelley Smith, allowed room for both interior and exterior scenes using a wide rotation of props and set pieces with my personal favourite being the torture rack that Wednesday uses on her brother Pugsley (Tom Ronayne) in “Pulled”. So not only did the show look utterly gorgeous, but Marshall’s portrayal of a man torn between keeping a secret for his daughter, and therefore lying to his wife, with heightened comedy when necessary, but also allowing the range for more quiet, human moments later on in the show simply proved that he was perfectly cast as Gomez Addams. Additionally, I was particularly impressed by Marshall and Kirthivasan’s “Happy/Sad”, which was also a standout moment for the band, led by Alex Boulton and Rachel Mapp, who provided high quality performance throughout the entire show.

Wednesday’s boyfriend Lucas Beineke, played by Cameron Mullin, and his parents, Alice and Mal, played by Anna Duffell and Elliot King, were another focal point of the show, depicting the cracks in the once picture-perfect, all-American family. King’s makeup was transformative – I really felt like I was watching an older man on stage when it was combined with his characterisation of the role. Duffell in particular was excellent in “Waiting” as she poured out her pent-up frustrations with her “normal” life in the climax of Act One.

Another highlight was the choreography of the show that was done by Adele Kirby, which resulted in some outstanding musical numbers such as “Death is Just Around the Corner” and “Tango de Amor”, blending the main characters and the ensemble seamlessly. Lucy Davey, Nathalie Hall, Sewa Sangowawa and Mya Lane especially stood out to me for their skills. Kirby had clearly utilised all their talents accordingly, and the show was made even more enjoyable as a result! Getting the audience to cheer mid-song is an incredibly hard feat to accomplish, but Russel and Kirby achieved that within the first five minutes of the show, and then throughout the following two hours as well.

There was a reason why this show sold a record-breaking number of tickets. ‘The Addams Family’ is high on energy and funny, showcasing the talents of its leads whilst simultaneously having a standout ensemble. The creative design of the show clearly had hours of love and care dedicatedly crafted into it, with the set, lighting, costume and props coming together perfectly to create a musical that was both visually stunning and one with the best performances I have seen in Leeds. For where else would you get a rat on a remote-controlled car, or a man flying to the moon with a jetpack? LAMMPS have put on such a professional and beautiful show, one which the cast appeared to be having the time of their lives performing. I cannot wait to see what they put out next!

Written by: Charlotte Hunter

Edited by: Harsheni Maniarasan

Hey! I'm Charlotte, a first-year English Literature with Theatre Studies student at the University of Leeds!