Curtain Closes on ‘The Addams Family’

Another successful iteration of Garnet and Gold’s annual musical ended on Saturday

Last Saturday, Jan. 27, was the closing night of Garnet and Gold’s production of The Addams Family. Gauging from the fervent applause of the audience, the show was a success. Audience members enjoyed all sorts of theatrical antics, from a quip about an old woman smoking weed in the attic to moving musical numbers about being pulled in new directions.

As an attendee put it, “All the lead family members sung well and were excellent actors, especially the father, Gomez [played by Grayson Kenny]. He communicated a range of emotions from helplessness to swaggering confidence, and helped tie together the different plots by having a well-crafted relationship with each important character. [His] chemistry with his wife Morticia [played by Mirren Lithwick] was convincing and great fun to watch.”

That chemistry was not exclusive to the matriarch and patriarch of the Addams family. The sense of comfortable ease among the cast lent itself well to the macabre yet humorous script; the musical appealed to a part of you that cannot help but chuckle at a dark joke despite your better judgement.

Grayson Kenny, Mirren Lithwick, Emily O’Leary, Michael Mccracken. Gillian Hill/ Argosy

As an audience member, it is easy to underestimate the hours upon hours of work poured into the show. For example, the show boasted an impressive set. “I found [it] ambitious and interesting to look at, with the upstairs level being used by the actors to great dramatic effect,” said the attendee, who wished to remain anonymous.

“For the past week, we’ve essentially been here from 6 to 12 every night, and on weekends, even longer. So it’s been pretty hectic – not a lot of time for homework but definitely worth it!” said Emily O’Leary, who played Wednesday Addams in the musical.

I caught up with a member of the pit orchestra, Owen Switzer, after the show. When asked for his thoughts on the whole experience, he replied, “It was good! I enjoyed learning the musical. It’s a hard one for reeds, that’s for sure. Just because there are so many instruments for reed players, there are a lot of tight switches. But I enjoyed it a lot.” Claiming it was difficult to switch between instruments was certainly not an exaggeration. Switzer played the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone in the two-hour span of the show.

Gomez, portrayed by Grayson Kenny. Gillian Hill/ Argosy

When I asked him about his favourite moment of the whole experience, he said without hesitation, “that would have to be putting [the instrumental and vocal lines] together with the cast. We had the music by ourselves and it was going all right but then we got the cast in it and it just felt good.”

When I asked the same question to O’Leary, she responded similarly, saying, “the best moment would have to be the first time we ran the show with the orchestra pit. When the ouverture started and the curtain opened, I think everyone had chills all over their bodies. It was really magical.”

O’Leary’s last sentence sums up the show well. To be brutally honest, this reporter is not particularly a fan of musical theatre, something which likely stems from too early and hasty an introduction to High School Musical and his mother’s forced Saturday night community theatre outings. I went into Convocation Hall with my expectations primed accordingly. But when I emerged afterward, I was blown away. The musical was like strawberry rhubarb pie – one wouldn’t think upbeat musical numbers, ballet and dark humour would go together, but against all odds, they do.

Ryan Karimi