A name to watch out for as Chichester students launch into The Addams Family

Payton Lazarus (Wednesday Addams)
Payton Lazarus (Wednesday Addams)

Payton Lazarus. It’s the kind of name you can very, very easily imagine up in lights. And who knows? We might not have too long to wait.

“It’s my real name!” Payton laughs. “I am not even going to have to change it!”

Payton, aged 21 and originally from Northamptonshire, is graduating this year in musical theatre at the University of Chichester.

Helping steer her towards the kind of stardom her name seems to cry out for is a stint as Wednesday Addams in the University of Chichester’s Musical Theatre Performance Company’s latest production, The Addams Family.

Performances will be at the Alexandra Theatre, Belmont Street, Bognor Regis, PO21 1BL on January 24, 25 and 26 at 7.30pm (including 2.30pm on January 26).

She has thoroughly enjoyed her time at the university: “Chichester is a lovely place. We came down here and had a look, and it was lovely and quiet. Some universities are in the big cities, but this was nice and quiet, and it just feels like home.

“Initially, you would like to go to drama school, but the money is a bit of an issue, but I really liked the idea of being at uni where everyone is in the same situation.

“There is not so much pressure. You are still really pushed when you need it, but it just feels like family. It is more team work really, though there are times when you are competing against each other for things like auditions.

“I have loved the course. We have certain lessons for things like audition technique. It makes you feel more prepared for when you are doing it for your career. But musical theatre is just something I love.

“I have loved it since I was seven. I have sung since I was very young, and then I went to a Saturday morning drama group from when I was seven, and I have loved it ever since.

“I just feel comfortable doing it. I am quite an outgoing person anyway, but I feel it brings more out of me. It just feels natural to be doing it.

“Even if I don’t go down the musical theatre route, I will always stick with singing. I would like to do the cruises, but obviously the big dream is the West End.”

She is certainly enjoying playing Wednesday in the tale of every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother.

Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents.

“Wednesday is very dark and moody,” Payton says. “She and her brother like to torment each other. It is all a bit weird. They want to torment each other with pain! The show is a bit dark. But she has met this normal boy and she sings this song about how she is changing from her dark and moody ways to liking things like lollipops and is slowly becoming more normal because she has met him. But she is a bit torn about changing… though she wants to be happy with him. I have got to find a balance to the way I play him.

“We are not being assessed on the production. The triple threat course are usually assessed, but we aren’t for this. It is all about the experience and just a bit of fun really.

“The rehearsals are really intense. We have only got three weeks. In the real world, you would probably have a bit longer, but this is a good way of prepping us for the pressure!”

Ticket prices £14/£12 (concessions)/£8 NUS.

To book call 01243 861010 or visithttp:// www.alexandratheatre.co.uk.

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