Although comically gothic with risible splashes of the macabre, Musical Theatre Gisborne’s production of The Addams Family will not be as horrific as the above photograph, jokes Dave Newsham.
In the picture, crew members Chris Hudson, Jim Campbell and Newsham are framed by a more than 100-year- old wooden frame from the long demolished Opera House.
There is an echo in the trio’s tableau of the oval-framed family picture of cartoon Addamses, Uncle Fester, Morticia, Gomez, Lurch, Pugsey, Wednesday and Cousin Itt.
While sisters Ana Biddle and Danielle Biddle are busy with the carpentry for the set, Hudson, Campbell and Newsham are working on the set build and detailing.
“We’re almost the Last of the Summer Wine,” says Newsham.
The popular British sitcom centred on a trio of veterans and their antics.
“Jim’s just retired,” says Newsham.
“He’s the baby of the family.”
When the show transfers from the rehearsal room to the Lawson Field Theatre the three will help install the Graeme Nicoll-designed, 19th century Gothic-inspired, set.
Newsham and Hudson worked together on the torture chamber for the show.
One of the instruments they have constructed is a rack that involves a looped rope Wednesday Addams puts her hand through as she admits in the song Pulled that love is pulling her in a new direction. The rack is fitted with a ratchet and handle.
“You can hear the handle and you can hear the ratchet but we’re not doing it for real,” says Newsham.
Ironically, Newsham currently has a role in Unity Theatre’s production of The Crucible, a play that centres on the 17th century torture and trials of suspected witches in Salem, Massachusetts. His character though, ageing farmer Giles Corey is at once baffled and bemused and gets the funniest lines.
The Addams Family crew have also created a chair in which a knife comes up out of the seat.
“Excellent for constipation, I believe,” says Newsham.
The Addams Family, directed by Belinda Campbell, Lawson Field Theatre, December 11-19. Tickets from i-Site or ticketek