The Quayside Terminal. It’s become synonymous with gala dinners, festivals and cruise ship markets – but for the first time this week, the venue has been transformed to stage its first ever musical.
The combined school production of The Addams Family, produced by St Patrick’s College together with St Margaret Mary’s College and Ignatius Park College, takes over the terminal for performances over the next three nights, relocating following the continued closure of the Civic Theatre.
The Addams Family Musical follows Wednesday as she grapples with the most-told story in theatre: love. However, while Lucas Beineke may seem like a catch for any young woman in New York, Wednesday isn’t just any young woman, and we get to witness the madness as she breaks the news to her family – before his family is invited over for dinner.
Ben Herrero as head of the household, Gomez, does an incredible job of leading – and at times lifting – the show. Gomez’s character calls for comedic timing and some spot-on line delivery, all of which Ben brings to the table. When you are spoilt for choice with the talent from three schools, it’s no surprise that you can’t choose just one person for certain roles. This is the case for Morticia (Sarah Bradley and Lara Stewart as understudy), Wednesday (Amaya Lejarraga and Kalani Guillien) and Pugsley (Bonnie Hughes and Ellison Rahmel). Last night, we were treated to Lara Stewart’s take on the sultry matriarch Morticia, a role which she grew into throughout the show. Lara is captivating whenever she sings or dances, and plays Morticia with incredible grace.
One of the show highlights for me was watching Pulled – combining Amaya Lejarraga’s beautiful singing with the hilarity of Bonnie Hughes’ Pugsley slowly being stretched on a torture rack beside her. In this production, Wednesday differs the most from her screen counterpart – but this is a role Amaya successfully made her own, with great characterisation and some sweet moments between Wednesday and Gomez.
There were so many standouts in this show, it’s hard to know where to start. Rosalili Ford, donning the sunshine yellow dress of Lucas’ mother Alice Beineke, is a performing powerhouse. Alice begins the show as happiness personified – but when she snaps, the change is instant and remarkable. Everything from Rosa’s tone to her expressions is unrecognisable from the bubbly doe-eyed poet that flounced across the stage minutes earlier, and Rosa should be incredibly proud of her performance. Opposite Rosa, Alice’s husband Malcolm Beineke is played by Declan Keyes-West. Declan transforms on stage as the narrow-minded and angry father, with some incredible acting during his outbursts, and his few solo moments of singing had me excited to hear Declan in larger roles in future shows.
Fionn O’Seighin as Lurch was a character of few words, but he still stole many scenes with his reactions – or lack of. His dancing in Full Disclosure is a sight to behold, and his ability to keep a straight face in even the craziest of scenarios was incredible. Gloria Njau’s Grandma deserved a show all of her own. She was a scene-stealer from the very first time she ambled on stage with a larger-than-life personality and more intent and characterisation than any director could ever ask for, and should be congratulated on an exemplary performance.
Last night we were treated to the final tech run of the show, as well as the first run with a full technical team to operate lighting and sound – so the usual techy niggles were to be expected. Production-wise, everything will only improve and speed up from here. A majority of my qualms with the show would have been solved had there been a viable theatre for the show to be performed in with wings and fly lines, however the team have done an incredible job adapting under the circumstances. You can see how well-rehearsed the cast are, with some rushed lines hard to understand and hurried song entrances, but I can’t wait to see how they raise the bar when they have a full audience in tonight.
I have to send a heartfelt congratulations to Director Alyssa Kelly and Assistant Director Gerard Marano for wrangling the talents of three schools into a venue that has never hosted a musical before – and managing to make it work. Everything from sight lines to sound echoing has been thought of and addressed to ensure you are delivered the same fantastic show no matter where in the Quayside Terminal you sit. Everything has been thought of, from the impressive costume realisation and design by St Pats’ year 12 student Brianna Dolinski to puppet mastery by a five-piece backstage crew that didn’t mind acting when the occasions arose.
Full disclosure, The Addams Family is not your typical high school show. The songs are clashy, the characters are kooky, and the cast look like they’ve rolled out of the grave. It is for all these reasons and more that you should have your tickets booked to see it.
Catch the combined schools musical The Addams Family at Quayside Terminal this Thursday – Saturday, with tickets available here.