“The Addams Family” returns to Pickleville Playhouse

Dan Call (center) is delightfully demented as Uncle Fester in the ongoing production of "The Addams Family" at the Pickleville Playhouse.

GARDEN CITY — The ongoing production of the musical comedy ”The Addams Family” at the Pickleville Playhouse is a spooky sensation.

After staging a brilliant production of the off-beat musical in fall of 2019, the multi-talented Davis clan decided to make “The Addams Family” a recurring holiday tradition at their rustic theater in Bear Lake. Despite concerns about the coronavirus, near-capacity crowds turned out last weekend for the premier performances of the perfect show to usher in the Halloween season.

Cartoonist Charles Addams first introduced the bizarre members the Addams Family to America in comics drawn for The New Yorker magazine for five decades starting in 1938. Addams’ characters were then brought to life in a television series in the 1960s and two feature films in the 1990s. The music comedy debuted on Broadway in 2010.

The new Pickleville production is a subtle improvement over the previous staging. That’s a real accomplishment, given that the hilarious 2019 performances of “The Addams Family” were near perfect. This show is worth seeing again … and again … and again …

Director Derek Davis was fortunate to retain most of the cast of his 2019 version of the show and their performances were better than ever.

The director and his real-life wife Whitley Osborne Davis are again marvelous in the roles of Gomez and Mortica Addams. They sing and dance up a storm while amusingly toying with the couple’s macabre chemistry.

The irresistible Kenzie Davis is back as Wednesday Addams, who shoots audience members in the heart with her crossbow and leaves them smitten. She delivers knock-em-dead vocal performances and hysterical frustration over her family’s inability to fake being normal.

The object of Wednesday’s affection in the “The Addams Family” is Pickleville veteran Slater Ashenhurst as Lucas, a square kid from Ohio who has fallen for the homicidal teenager’s dubious charms. Nearly unrecognizable without his trademark handlebar moustache and French accent from the Pickleville summer melodramas, Ashenhurst takes a backseat supporting-role in this production with heretofore unseen professional restraint.

Hayden Davis returns as the adolescent masochist Pugsley Addams. With another year under his belt, the youngster’s performance now features a much stronger voice and improved stage presence.

Other returnees from 2019 delivering stand-out performances include the towering James Case as Lurch, the Addams family’s undead butler; Andrea Davis as the demented Grandmama Addams; and Shayne Taylor as Lucas’ stuffed-shirt father.

Memorably joining “The Addams Family” cast for the first time are Angie Call and Dan Call.

As Lucas’ brow-beaten mother, Angie Call provides a schizophrenic performance that starts mousy and goes comically ballistic in the Act 1 finale.

Dan Call’s portrayal of the loony Uncle Fester is wildly over-the-top from start to finish.

Rounding out the cast as singing and dancing zombies are returnees Tristan Berg and Joshua Goodrun-Green and newcomers Georgia Bowman and Summer Farnsworth.

Late afternoon and evening performances of “The Addams Family” will continue at the Pickleville Playhouse on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 24. An additional evening performance is slated on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The usual coronavirus precautions will be observed during all performances and face coverings are required for audience members.

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