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Interview With The Stars of The Addams Family at The Alexandra, Birmingham

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
The smash hit musical comedy returns to the Second City
Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton is Morticia Addams, alongside Cameron Blakely as Gomez, in The Addams Family: The Musical Comedy at The Alexandra in Birmingham, January 18 - 22, 2022. They took time out to answer some questions.

What's in store for audiences who come see The Addams Family?

Cameron: A lot of quirkiness, a lot of laughs and a lot of miscommunication. In a way it's like a dark farce. I think everyone needs a bit of escapism at the moment and this show really provides that.

Joanne: It's a feel-good, fun, laugh-out-loud family show. Audiences know the characters, they know the world of The Addams Family from the TV show and films but there are some surprises in store. And it's really, really funny. The feel-good factor is something everyone is craving after what everyone's been through.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
Joanne Clifton and Cameron Blakely in The Addams Family (pic: Pamela Raith)


How did you keep yourselves busy when the pandemic closed the theatres?

Joanne: [Laughs] How long have you got? Me, Katya Jones from Strictly and my friend Sasha Latoya created an online motivational course called The Beyond Lockdown Empire, which went so well we turned it into a book. I continued working on a musical I'm writing with Ben Adams called Bloody Nora. I also did dance classes on Zoom, podcasts, lots of things – I kept myself really busy because I'm not good at taking time off.

Cameron: I ended up using my driving skills to do Argos deliveries for a while, which was jolly good fun. I really enjoy driving so I thought 'How can I at least try and make a bit of money out of it?'.

Before you began touring again with The Addams Family what were you most looking forward to about being back on stage?

Cameron: Just the thrill of doing what you're trained to do, your main vocation, and to connect with a crowd again, knowing that you're hopefully making people happy and making them laugh.

Joanne: I couldn't wait for the buzz of having a live audience again. I love film acting as well but the live aspect of theatre for me is so thrilling – the fact that anything could go wrong at any point, or that someone could do something different on stage and you have to react to it, or how audiences react to different things in different parts of the country.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
Joanne Clifton is Morticia Addams (pic: Pamela Raith)


Morticia and Gomez are such iconic characters. How do you put your own stamp on them?

Joanne: When I get a job I watch the films or any kind of footage from the show twice, maximum, then I don't watch it anymore. I get a feel for the character, then I leave it because I want to do my own version of it. I did Thoroughly Modern Millie but I'm never going to be Julie Andrews, I did The Rocky Horror Show but I'm never going to be Susan Sarandon, and I'm not going to be Carolyn Jones from The Addams Family TV shows or Anjelica Huston from the movies.

Cameron: I was always a great fan of Raoul Julia, who played Gomez in the movies. I wanted to make him quite Spanish, as he was in the films, and to make him like a matinee idol romantic type. It's such a great role because it has everything. And the way the composer has written the score it's different for each character, so Gomez gets all the sort of Latin music – very melodramatic and romantic with a Spanish feel to it.

Do you have anything in common with them?

Cameron: I do secretly quite like growing a moustache in a retro 1970s way. I got quite attached to it when I first did the show in 2017 and didn't get rid of it for about a year afterwards. With Gomez's romanticism, I'm quite similar to him in that sense, as am I when it comes to his passion.

Joanne: I am a Scorpio so I could maybe have a dark side but it doesn't come out very often. The main thing we have in common is a fierce love and protection of family, but I don't think she likes to sit at home playing with Slime or doing jigsaw puzzles in her spare time, whereas I do.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
Cameron Blakely is Gomez Addams (pic: Pamela Raith)


It's full of great musical numbers. Do you have a favourite to perform?

Joanne: Death Around the Corner. Morticia is so dark and Gothic and she has this big Broadway number about death. I think it's fabulous.

Cameron: There's one called Happy/Sad, which is a lovely reflective song that Gomez sings to his daughter. It always make me think of my daughter, Noelle, who turned eight in August. When I first did the show I remember I got this big lump in my throat and really struggled not to cry.

Can you recall when you first encountered The Addams Family?

Cameron: I think it was the first movie, starring Raoul Julia and Anjelica Huston. I'd grown up knowing about The Addams Family but I was more the age group of The Munsters.

Joanne: Me and my brother Kevin used to watch it on TV when we were kids and we loved the movies. I'm a big fan and I was so happy when I got this job I even did a painting of Morticia.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
Joanne Clifton and Cameron Blakely (pic: Pamela Raith)


It began life as a cartoon in the 1930s, became a TV show in the 1960s, a film franchise in the 1990s and a musical in the noughties. Why do you think it has endured for so long?

Joanne: It's fun to see this family who are not the happy-go-lucky Disneyworld-ish model American family. They're not typical in any way and it's really fun to watch how they behave compared to your average TV or movie family.

Cameron: People inherently like Halloween and the macabre, plus there's this mishmash of very odd characters in the same family. There's also the darkness and the fun the Addams family have around graveyards and moonlight. I think viewers are fascinated by the juxtaposition of light and darkness and how it's completely flipped. It's just fascinating and there's so much dark humour you can get out of that.

What's the one thing you couldn't be on the road without?

Cameron: Because I have to stay in shape for the tango number it would have to be my resistance bands. There's a five-minute tango at the end of the show, so I started training and running again – which my body hated at first.

Joanne: I take a jigsaw puzzle to every venue. If I manage to finish it I give it to one of the dressers if they want it. If I don't finish it I dismantle it and take it to the next venue to have another go at it.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
The cast of The Addams Family: The Musical Comedy (pic: Pamela Raith)


Does Birmingham have any significance for you?

Cameron: Birmingham is a nice place with really good audiences, so I'm looking forward to being back there. The theatregoers are so responsive and Birmingham is such an up-and-coming city. When I was last there with The Addams Family in 2017 there were major roadworks going on everywhere so I'm interested to see how it's been transformed even further since then.

Joanne: Birmingham audiences are the best. They're so lively.

Joanne Clifton, Cameron Blakely, The Addams Family, The Alexandra Birmingham, Musical Comedy, Interviews
Venue: The Alexandra, Birmingham
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Why? Everyone's favourite kooky family are back on stage
When: January 18-22, 2022
Phone: 0333 009 6690
Where: The Alexandra, Birmingham, Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham B5 4DS
Cost: From £13 plus fees
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