Meanwhile, Uncle Fester spends the play breaking the fourth wall to narrate and to engage with a reluctant ensemble of ghosts who he's raised from their graves. Fester's become a bit of a romantic himself: he has fallen in love with the moon. His entire side plot will either win your heart (if you like clever puppetry) or bore you, since Fester's songs and stand-up serve mostly as filler between set changes and plot-heavy scenes. But Blake Hammond charms in the role, with each of his bad jokes followed by a sly smile full of such adorable self-awareness that one can't help but reward him with a laugh.
Grandma Addams and young son Pugsley (Pippa Pearthree and Patrick D. Kennedy) take even more of a back seat to the proceedings, with the former seemingly forgotten by her family and the latter wishing his sister would never grow up — after all, he hasn't. Neither actor has much to work with here, especially Pearthree, who struggles with the few jokes written for her, none of which are the play's best material. Even further in the sidelines is Tom Corbeil as Lurch, but unlike Grandma and Pugsley, he has the best comedic moments of the show, each of which deserves to be seen rather than spoiled by my attempts to summarize them.
Andrew Lippa's songs are hit-or-miss, with most of the memorable show-stoppers crammed into the superior first act, leaving the second act stuck with a lot of Fester's filler and a too-quick tidying up of each of the romantic entanglements. The first act's opening number, "When You're an Addams," as well as that act's other big song, "One Normal Night" (in which both Wednesday and Lucas plead with their parents) are the two best songs of the show, each ending with cascading choruses backed by the ghostly ensemble providing eerie, multi-part harmonies fit for a gothic cathedral — and definitely fit for a gothic show like this one.
Sergio Trujillo's bouncy, stylized choreography does not fail to impress, with most of the high-kicking coming from the ensemble of ghosts. But the most impressive dance of all is, fittingly, the second act's tango between Gomez and Morticia. By the time these two get to the tangoing, it's begun to seem ridiculous that they ever fought in the first place, and Morticia seems to realize this herself somewhere in the midst of hoisting up her skirts to reveal of a pair of thigh-high boots with sky-high heels.
The show's last song, "Move Toward the Darkness," lacks the energy and bounce of the first act, and it feels particularly subdued in the wake of Gomez and Morticia's sexy power struggle of a tango, but the audience still leapt to their feet with giddy applause even before the cast had finished singing the final refrain. Perhaps we Bostonians just love to see a story about Middle America learning to embrace a more, uh, open-minded lifestyle — though one wonders how well this story of strange-but-sweet Central Park goths would go over in Ohio. For sex-positive feminists with a kinky side, or for any liberal who likes puppets and corny jokes, this show will make for a romantic Valentine's week date with a gothic twist.