The Addams Family - Clondalkin actor brings uncle fester to life

By Hayden Moore

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all together ooky. The Addams Family! The legendary eerie fictional family are making their way to Tallaght, for five nights.

Liberties College are producing the musical comedy based on the family of characters created by Charles Addams in the 1930s, and have cast Clondalkin lad Carl Maher as everyone’s favourite uncle, Fester.

LIFE The Addams Family 1

Carl with the cast of The Addams Family

Carl is in his final year at the college, studying Advanced Actor Training and he along with his schoolmates will be bringing the show to The Civic Theatre from May 14 to 18.

Taking a break from his first dress rehearsal for the show, Carl caught up with The Echo to let us know all about the production, living up to the fan-favourite expectations of Uncle Fester set by Christopher Lloyd and Jackie Coogan, and why the show resonates so well with audiences after more than 80 years.

What initially drew you to acting?

I suppose it was just always something I wanted to do and then I started acting at 18, I’m 19 now. I have played football all my life and I suppose I just never tried it, not too sure why. I always wanted to act, so when I left school, I just decided to go for it and give it a go in the Liberties.

LIFE cast of The Addams Family Carl Maher 1

The Addams Family

So, this is a production by Liberties College is it as part of their acting course?

Yeah. That’s why we started auditioning for the show in February, we just did the regular Addams Family theme and then we were already cast by the end of March and all, it was pretty fast.

Who were you auditioning for?

Well we just did the song and then I actually had to go back and do two scenes as Gomes and Fester. So, I was away learning lines for both characters for the audition and I had to sing ‘The Moon and Me’, which is one of Festers songs that is in act two. They’re two of my favourite characters and I’m really glad I got to play Fester.

How does it feel to get to put on a show of The Addams Family?

LIFE Carl Maher 1

Carl Maher

It’s great. Especially because I’m leaving college, like this is my last year so it feels like I’m kind of leaving on a high. I watched the movies and show like everyone else when I was a kid, so it is great to be a part of the musical.

How do you prepare for the role of Uncle Fester?

Well I watched the movies to try and get a deeper understanding of the characters, then I read the script to see how I can apply what I had picked up from the show. Obviously, you don’t want to copy anyone so I had to play around with the character for awhile before I was happy with it.

Are you happy with where you’re at with the character now?

Yeah, I am, I feel like I’ve got a very solid grip on the performance. I just had to go out there and mess around with it, I thought I was making a show of myself but I’m lucky that we have a director who gives us the freedom on stage to develop.

Obviously, this role was made famous by Jackie Coogan and Christopher Lloyd, do you feel a pressure to live up to them?

There is a little bit of pressure of course and especially with Fester because he is many people’s favourite character. I have to find that balance with him of being liked and not annoying because he is the narrator of the musical as well. I’m in scenes and then I’ve to pop out every couple of scenes to narrate, so you don’t want the audience to be fed up with you coming out on to the stage every time.

With your play and the Universal Pictures animation later on in the year, The Addams Family seem to be making a bit of a comeback?

I don’t know what it is? There are three productions of the material that I know of this year, including my own show.

The Addams Family is something that has been around for over 80 years now, was is it about this source material that you think still resonates with audiences today?

There are two things. First of all, it’s about family, which is the most important thing because no matter what, people will care about family. Then I’d say just how weird The Addams Family are because it almost acts as an escape for people, they get to go in to the theatre and see themselves in the show but escape at the same time.

Tickets to ‘The Addams Family’ are on sale now at www.civictheatre.ie, with tickets costing €15-€19, shows run from Tuesday, May 14 to Saturday, May 18.

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