Normally when we see a musical theatre production, we see the finished piece complete with all the resplendent theatricals.
But we were given a rare chance to see the beginning of The Addams Family musical as it was in the final two weeks of rehearsals ahead of its visit to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.
Those of us who made the trip to The Dance Attic in Fulham were in for absolute treat and that’s just seeing it in rehearsals without the final elements of the production.
There was a lot to admire, the comedy in the movement, the energy of the ensemble and the precise, almost tongue in cheek tone throughout the opening number.
You can sense the amount of resources which have been thrown at this, and this is very evident in the casting of Samantha Womack as matriarch Morticia, Les Dennis as Uncle Fester and YouTube star Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday Addams.
Les is looking forward to the role and has even shaved his head for the role.
He said: “I think my biggest challenge was having my head shaved.
“I did try a bald cap but I knew that it was going to be too hot, too sweaty doing that eight times a week and also having to sit in make up for at least an hour-and-a-half before the show so decided to go for the full shave.
“I’ve never shaved my head before, I forgot that I’ve done it so when I wake up and look in the mirror and give myself a fright.”
His commitment to the role is obviously admirable and delights in telling us about his character.
Les added: “I think Uncle Fester finds it hard to go to the dark side. Whereas it comes naturally to everyone, there’s a lot of love he has.
“I think you try and bring your own version to it so I would hope that my version is my version. He looks like me.
“The way I play it is very different to Christopher Lloyd in the films.
“I tried not to watch too much of the Addams Family, either the films of the TV show because I wanthim to be my own Fester.”
Although he did say he caught one of the old episodes.
Les said: “We watched the first episode for research and it was directed by Arthur Hiller who directed lots of classic comedies from the 70s and 80s.
The musical tells the story of a slightly more mature Wednesday who has a dark and shocking secret that only Gomez knows.
She’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family.
Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.
Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s normal boyfriend and his parents.
The date in Northampton will also be significant for Kirsty Ingram who is from the town. She is part of the ensemble and also the first cover for Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Wednesday.
Kirsty said: “My character is a Geisha, all of us in the ensemble have been given different characters to play.
“She’s very well behaved, very gentle initially and then she goes a bit Kill Bill-esque and that it quite fun to play.”
And while the part is different from her previous roles which have included Beauty and the Beast, The Sorceror and Dangerous Liaisons on stage, it’s bought a different set of challenges.
Kirsty added: “The rehearsals have been really good but they have been very intense.
“There is a lot of dancing for the ensemble in this show which is great and we are all going to be very fit by the end of it. It is tiring but it is so much fun.
“We are also in on the Saturday, so I’ll be covering for Carrie as Wednesday. But it is all good fun,”
The Addams Family can be seen from Tuesday May 9 to Saturday May 13. To book call the box office on 01604 624811 or www.royalandderngate.co.uk.