YEOVIL Youth Theatre has been one of the great successes of the past decade, from the astonishingly confident Les Miserables at the Gateway in 2005 to the barnstorming CATS at the Octagon two years ago, and subsequent shows.
So it was disappointing, both for the company and their fans, on the opening night of The Addams Family to see vast swathes of empty seats at the Octagon.
The company was thrilled to get the rights for the show before anyone else in the region, and it certainly provides some terrific central roles, but the set piece scenes are a bit underpowered, not stretching this energetic and versatile company as much as they might.
Based on the cartoon, then the television show and then the films, the story of the Addams Family looks like a sure thing as a comedy musical.
It all happens over one night, as Wednesday Addams brings home her very normal boyfriend Lucas and his family for dinner at the mansion in Central Park.
With Lurch the butler, the peculiar and moonstruck Uncle Fester, someone’s ancient grandmother and the ghastly Pugsley on hand, Lucas’s parents are in for a surprise, even if the suave Gomez and his ethereal wife Mortitia are borderline-normal.
As always, Yeovil Youth Theatre has found some amazing performers – youngsters who are breathtakingly good and constantly exceed expectations. They are the very natural successors of the area’s rich vault of amateur talent that often kicks the paid performers into touch.
In Alan Forster’s production of The Addams Family there are outstanding performances by Harry Grinter as the very Latin Gomez and Erin Damon as his wife, by Leah Driver as Wednesday and (on the opening night) by Will Swainson as Pugsley and by the ever-excellent Will Poulton as Lucas.
Ben Scott and Eronwy Selwyn enjoy losing their inhibitions as the Beinekes from Illinois, and young James Matthews has fun with Fester, particularly in the very effective black light scene.
This is a company well worth supporting, as many of these young performers will be around on local (and maybe national) stages for a long time to come.
It may be time to think about booking for the pantomime, but The Addams Family is inviting you to dinner this week, and it’s a fun evening.