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The Addams Family as presented by Letterkenny Musical Society


An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny. 5th – 9th March.

Adjudication Performance Saturday 9th March.

An Grianán Theatre was the stage for the Letterkenny Musical Society's 2024 production of The Addams Family. A Musical to be staged in 2020 which had to be cancelled as, before our eyes, our world changed forever. The foyer of the theatre was alive with energy. So many people were milling around, and I thought the show had been sold out twice because the noise level was so loud. I was looked after wonderfully by Ms Rushe, and I can honestly say it was such a lovely experience to be back in this theatre and warmly welcomed. As it was my 2nd show of the day, having travelled straight across from Belfast to Letterkenny, I was tired and a little stressed when I arrived due to the concern that I may not get there on time. But I did. I was welcomed warmly with open arms and got a tour of backstage operations before the show opened, which was lovely and settled me down for the evening. I could not have been treated more warmly by Ms Rushe, Mr O’Donnell, and your excellent Front of House Team. Thank you.

Director for this Production was Ms Maria Rushe. From the moment the show opened, I was transfixed by the beautiful visual in front of me. Ms Rushes’ direction was very effective. This show has two sides: the darkness and then the comedy element. I loved the way the stage was set and on view before the show, with the creepy green mossy-coloured lights enveloping the stage, the big old stone walls adorning the complete stage dramatically, and that gorgeous full moon beaming down on the audience. Rather than having the stage closed to use this scene while the audience arrived at their seats, it felt as if we were already a part of the show, allowing the audience a glimpse and a view of what was to come. Every scene was a picture. Every character was successfully directed that this show flowed beautifully. Ms. Rushe has vast experience in many facets of production as a performer herself, and this was evident in so many areas in the immaculate castings, the clever direction of the development of each character, the visuals, the production, and the overall picture that was presented to the audience throughout to mention and highlight just one as an example – when Fester said goodbye and flew to the moon, and at the finale, the moon was beamed in and Fester's face was on the moon. This brought the house down with applause. There were many gorgeous moments such as these, way too many to mention in this production, all adding up to the success that it was that had the audience in the palm of your hand, lavishing up the scene and story that was developing before us on stage in such a beautiful way. Bravo.

Mr Gerard Bradley was the Musical Director. There was a lovely pace, a beautiful warm tone from the Orchestra, lovely empathy towards the Cast, particularly in the solo numbers, and a remarkable sound throughout the entire show from this very professional Orchestra with Mr Bradley as its Captain. Lovely attention to detail, for example, when Pugsley couldn’t sleep, and Morticia was soothing him in such a comedic way, the underscoring of the Orchestra here with accompaniment was beautiful. It is so delicate and discreet yet effective. “Not Today,” sung by Gomez, was a lovely, gorgeous, emphatic rhythm and bounce. However, “Tango de Amor” was fabulous, and the orchestra was mighty in sound and accompaniment. Mr Bradley, created a lovely empathy between his Orchestra and his Cast. You were as one. Beautiful. You are a very talented gentleman, Mr Bradley. I loved your Musical direction in this performance from beginning to end without fault. Congratulations.

The Choreographer was Emmet Stewart. Smashing Choreography throughout. Beautiful movement , so well drilled and wonderful timing and variation. “Tango de Amor” was magnificent. “Anything Else but Love” was outstanding, and “Full Disclosure” with the Company was so simple yet with some beautiful movement, lovely visuals, and precision-like steps moved to perfection by the Company. It highlighted the amount of time, effort, and rehearsals that have gone into this show. Bravo

The sets were simply magnificent. This set and all its changes filled the stage, creating a vast area for the Company to work with. It was so versatile, creating a beautiful setting for the show. The gates, the wall, the beautiful stand out piece for me – the moon, The life-like trees downstage left and right bringing the audience right into the storyline, the dining table which was arranged in such a way that every single character sitting around it could be seen and heard while also maintaining a striking visual for your audience enhancing the story and the success of the production. The rack that Pugsley was tied to and pulled by Wednesday was so dramatic and compelling as was that chair. It looked like something out of Game of Thrones, and each time Mr. Beineke sat on it, my eyes watered with the thought of the possible outcome if he answered this question incorrectly with Gomez in control of the lever for the chair. An implement of torture – leaving nothing to one's imagination! The Gothic arches and the beautiful goth doors like church doors were so clever and picturesque, and then the gorgeous set of all Fester faces in the moon at the end of the 2nd half. This is a memory I will never entirely forget: such a surprise and such beauty. The sets were simply outstanding. Bravo to the Crew and the team involved

The sound was by NC Sound and Communications. The sound was so very, very good throughout. Given the vast stage, the characters, the whole house, and many radio mics, this job could quickly go wrong! It did not. The excellent sound throughout this entire production, as well as its volume, tone, and balance, added to the success of this production hugely. It was done on a mammoth task and completed to an extremely high standard.

Lighting was by Niall Cranney. Lovely lighting. Excellent teamwork and experienced people in this area. The illumination from the green mossy eery lights before the curtain opened to the “Game” beautifully lit through the scene with Fester and the Ancestor's beautiful emphatic use of green and blue lights here, creating a lovely tone and atmosphere as they did throughout the show. An excellent Team here with experience, which most definitely showed—notably the mention of the pinks used in “Secrets” in Act 1. The stage was a glorious fusion of pink, simply gorgeous. A fantastic job on lighting in this production throughout.

Costumes by Nomac Productions Waterford and costume Co-Ordinator Ms Lorraine Porter were exemplary. The whole cast in total costumes were so very detailed and appropriate, creating lovely light and dark contrasts. Colours such as Ms. Beineke's yellow dress, the creams of the Ancestors and the black of the Addams Family, and, of course, the showstopping costume of Grandma menagerie of layers which were simply fantastic, all showed a wonderfully thought out vision that Ms. Rushe and her team had to give the best possible version of The Addams family they could. Costumes played a massive part in that success.

Props were excellent, and time was put into this area, with Props Manager Tara McLaughlin at the helm. The scythe by the Grim Reaper, the gorgeous grey umbrellas used for the finale of Act 2. Pugsley's fabulous “Coffin bed” ( despite being a coffin, it looked extremely comfortable!) The candlesticks for the dinner are small but noted. The bowl of fruit on the long dinner table was full of fruit. Small details like this show huge attention, care, and pride in production, which is something to mention. I am only mentioning a few. There were many more. Congratulations.

Makeup Design was superb under the eye of Niamh Porter. The Makeup, I am sure, took hours, and the team involved did a remarkable job, not only with the front line – all of you, but also with the Ancestors, the dancers, the grim reaper, and the entire company. This area is extensive and time-consuming, requiring much patience, knowledge, and depth of awareness to ensure that the makeup and its effects travel to the audience. I was in the back row of the Theatre, and the makeup to me was as clear and beautiful as a bright blue sky on a summer's day. It was wonderfully created with so much detail. It was indeed most effective all around, throughout, and simply stunning with great attention to detail again in this area and others. Bravo Team.

Giles Murray played the part of Gomez. From the moment this gentleman arrived on stage, I loved his character, look, accent, wardrobe, stance, and voice. Mr Murray, you have a lovely stage presence and a lovely onstage connection between yourself, Morticia, and the rest of the cast, especially with Wednesday and Pugsley. Your love for your wife, Morticia, was evident throughout. You adored her and had an endearing and lovely onstage connection with each other. Your accent was perfect. Your movement with fluidity and ease around the stage was remarkable. Your solos were consistent: “Two Things,” “Three Things,” and “Four Things.” “Live before We Die” loved this number with Morticia, which was heartfelt, and “Not Today” was simply a highlight of Act 2. Your love for your beloved daughter Wednesday was palpable; she wrapped you around her little finger. This was a gorgeous Father / Daughter relationship, and your song “Wednesday’s Growing Up” brought a lump to my throat. It was sung with such heart and emotion and was so real. “Trapped” is another great vocal. A significant role that suited you. Bravo.

The part of Morticia was played by Sarah Terry Sweeney. Very well cast, with excellent vocals and a lovely stage presence as you glided slowly through the show with your relaxation and nobody messed with the Matriarch of the Addams family. Your hair and costumes was fabulous. You danced and moved so gracefully. It was indeed a lovely performance. You were elegant in your dance, mentioning the Tango in particular, which was superb, but also your softer side, showing Alice Beineke the photo album shortly after being introduced to her. You were a strong Morticia equally in every facet of the role, and I thoroughly enjoyed you bringing your mark on this lovely role and making it your own.

Elle Terry Sweeney played the part of Wednesday Addams: a gorgeous part, so very well cast. You were a fabulous Wednesday, with a lovely voice. This was an excellent role for you. Your interactions with your father were comedic in places, such as the power you had over him and your nudges to keep secrets from your Mum, Morticia. Visually, you looked great. You loved the relationship you had with your little brother Pugsley. Your vocal and acting in “Crazier Than You” with Lucas Mal and Alice was excellent, beautifully staged, and directed. You have a gorgeous vocal and a beautiful, strong stage presence, and indeed, you were outstanding in this role. Watching you consistently in every aspect of your role as Wednesday Addams was a joy.

Sean Bonner played the part of Fester. From the moment this talented gentleman landed ( yes, landed) on stage, I loved your character and what you made of it. So strong. So vocal. You are so experienced in stagecraft and a beautiful actor; you had it all. Your song ‘To the Moon’ was most definitely a highlight. Your character was soft and eccentric, and I loved it. You had a lovely, dry humour, but I loved your physical presence. Fists clenched with a slight stoop, looking down towards the floor to speak and then up to the moon to declare your love for her. This number was gorgeous. It was such a simple lullaby lyrical number that you made your own, and it was indeed just so beautiful and sung with such care and affection for your love – the Moon. “Fester Manifesto” in Act 1 was so very well sung. However, it was indeed “The Moon and Me” with you and the Ancestors that you came into your own here. Excellent character, Mr Bonner. I loved you in this role and all you did with it to make it yours.

Ethan Barron played Pugsley Addams. What an immense talent you have, young man. You had the audience in the palm of your hand throughout the evening with your fun and a bit of a naughty character. The audience loved you. The scene where you were being pulled on the rack by Wednesday was acted beautifully. You have a natural stage presence for somebody so young, and it was a joy—your solo “What if” in Act 1 was lovely. Your singing has a beautiful timbre and clarity that is commendable for one so young. I hope you continue your theatrical journey for many years, Mr Barron. You were such a strong Pugsley; in your interactions with Grandma, your mutual adoration of each other came across well. Significant presence and excellent vocal Mr Barron.

Donal Kavanagh played the part of Lurch. What a thunderous stage presence you possess. Your movement throughout was so well done, laboured, slow and so effective. This was an excellent role for you. Comedy was also part of this character. When Gomez asked you to hurry up, the audience laughed at what speeding up was and how it was done. And then – your massive vocal at the show's end blew me away. What strength and impact have you made in this role. It was a fantastic part, so very well done with a stunning bass vocal solo. It was simply brilliant—no such thing as a minor role. You were a catalyst in linking the full story throughout, and you did an excellent job.

Nicola Shields played Grandma. Firstly, fantastic wig and costume. It was so successful and so very authentic. The great voice when speaking, sounding old and doddery, limping around the stage, but there was a glint in your eye of dry humour that you cannot be taught how to do; it comes to some naturally. Lovely relationship with your grandson Pugsley. You had it all in a bucketload. You fit into this role very comfortably and with ease. Great part. Great visuals and great acting. So very well done, Ms Shields.

Chris Duddy played the part of Mal. Great character. You looked the part, and the contrasting ways of life, even in how you dressed compared to the Goth-like Gomez family, were commendable. It was such a funny moment when you arrived at the end of the 2nd half as a biker again. What a great tee shirt! This was a charming role, and I loved what you brought to it in your way. I thoroughly enjoyed you in this part. And when you let rip, boy, did you let rip!!

Catriona Doherty played the part of Alice Beineke. Again, what a lovely character you created here. You are an outstanding actress and looked so well beside your husband Mal and your relationship, which was quite funny in parts when you passed out and came to and brought Mal back to when you first met. This was superbly done. Again, another strong vocal. You and Mal were a good team and acted well together.

Jamie Lee Gallagher played Lucas. Smart, educated, and an utter gentleman who was so very well dressed and entirely in love with Wednesday Addams. You were a charming Lucas, Mr Gallagher. You and Wednesday suited each other. You looked great together and acted well together, and there was a lovely ease about you on stage that made me think you are very at home in a theatre. “Crazier than You” was already mentioned as a fabulous number. You had a powerful stage presence and lovely interaction with everyone in the Addams family. I warmed to you from the moment you arrived on stage. It is a lovely role beautifully played.

From the opening of this show, this Chorus was simply excellent. There are many numbers involving you all and many highlights. “When You're an Addams” and “Full Disclosure” with the entire Company, as Ancestors, male or female, this Chorus was adorable. Great sound, lovely balance in harmonies throughout, and gorgeous volume again with emphatic accompaniment from your Orchestra. I looked forward to each time you all came on stage to sing. Your costumes were again splendiferous, and you created such a beautiful sound every moment. So strong. So professional and so effective. I loved listening to every note. Bravo.

This show of yours highlighted your enormous talent and joie de vivre. And I realise this show was so special, having had to cancel it due to Covid and the lockdown four years ago. It was brave to take it on board again, give it the chance it deserved, and allow the Company to get this on stage finally despite many obstacles after such a lengthy time. But you did. And you did it with aplomb. I wish you nothing but success, continued strength, and happiness in this family of yours, which is Letterkenny Musical Society in a beautiful place, An Grianán Theatre, which you call home. Congratulations.

Caroline Daly Jones

Sullivan Adjudicator AIMS 2023 / 2024

Some photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Liam Porter


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