Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group (EUSOG) returns to the Pleasance Theatre stage this week with The Addams Family. The first of three productions planned for this academic year, the show promises an evening of great entertainment.
Featuring Charles Addams’ original characters, this musical adaptation sees Wednesday Addams grown up and tackling the problems that come hand in hand with falling in love. She has a met a nice, respectable man – what could be worse – and faces the dreaded meeting of the parents. Accordingly, the script is full of uncomfortable humour and sexual tension, themes that are sure to appeal to a student dominated audience.
Having met playing wicked stepsisters in a EUSOG production a few years back, Director and Assistant Director pairing Becca Simmonds and Kate Pasola are hard pushed to contain their excitement. They describe the wit and sharp humour that runs throughout, their main concern being that the performance should live up to the script. The comic script is balanced out by moments of emotional depth that, if reflected successfully on stage, should round the characters out perfectly. Simmonds notes the number ‘Happy Sad’ as particularly poignant.
As Simmonds and Pasola discuss the challenges of creating their vision of The Addams Family in just eight weeks, the transformation of Pleasance Theatre is underway around us. Innumerable crew members bustle around: half way up ladders or depositing bits of the set wherever there is space. Whilst it is hard to escape the feeling of community and enthusiasm in the room, it is frankly undeniable that the shared energy that goes into a production of this scale is vast.
The 22 strong cast are supported by a wealth of crew – the Director tells me excitedly that the make up team is the largest it has ever been – and this contributes to the general feel of professionalism. We discuss the difficulties that arise in creating the necessary aesthetic to support the performance under such time pressure. The gothic opulence of The Addams Family is surely hard to recreate and yet the press photos look effortlessly striking.
Approaching the production, it is initially the score that interests me most. A relatively new production – opening on Broadway for the first time in 2010 – much of the audience are unlikely to be familiar with it. Many more will surely know the original characters from the television show and cartoons. My intrigue only increases as the team discusses with me the big dance numbers that mimic musical classics.
EUSOG, as the oldest musical theatre society on our campus, rarely fails to put on a good show and The Addams Family looks set to continue that trend. As the cast and crew carry on setting up, it is near impossible to avoid catching the buzz. The show is certainly in safe hands with the Simmonds-Pasola duo at the helm and The Addams Family looks set to be a firecracker of a performance.
Image courtesy of Oliver Buchanan.