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Review: Lively Wednesday Addams steals show at Clay Center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Growing up with the classic Addams Family (snap, snap), I was curious as to how the characters would make the transition from TV show to Broadway musical. Complete with cameo appearances by Thing and Cousin It, the whole family took the stage and captured the essence of being an Addams from the opening number. Uncle Fester sets the stage and is often the guide through the clever, but familiar plot as people from the "normal" world come in contact with Addams' family members.Love and relationships are explored at all levels from puppy love to sibling love to established marriages. Toss in a few little secrets, and there is more than enough conflict to spend just more than two delightful hours sorting everything out for a happy ending.As was often the case in the long-running TV series, the Addams are often more normal than the rest of the world. In this case, they were more normal than the Beineke Family from Ohio.Young Lucas Beineke is in love with Wednesday Addams.
In a "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" meeting between the unsuspecting Beinekes and the Addams, anything can happen once one of Grandma's potions gets added to the night's festivities.Wednesday stole the show with her strong voice and her resolve to convince her father to help her win the rest of the family over as she prepares to announce her engagement to Lucas. Her facial expressions and a yellow dress were highlights in an otherwise drab household. Clever staging with the red curtain allowed for sets to come and go easily. A production number with Fester and the Moon employed black light and puppetry to make the impossible believable in "The Moon and Me." There were quite a few younger children in the audience who were probably familiar with the cartoon version of the Addams. Several were caught off guard by a few "bad words" sprinkled in.But the light-hearted plot and several contemporary references, such as "Obamacare" and witty lines from elder characters such as "stop the texting and read a book once in a while" were well-received by the audience, who filled the main floor, 1st balcony and spilled into the second balcony at the Clay Center.
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