Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Alliance Theatre Willy Wonka

By • Jul 30th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Willy Wonka
Alliance Theatre
Chantilly High School, Chantilly, VA
Playing through August 2nd
Reviewed July 26th, 2009

Willy Wonka is a musical with music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, adapted for the stage by Tim McDonald, based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of Charlie, a poor boy who finds one of five golden tickets and with Grandpa Joe is able to discover the hidden world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Willy Wonka featured a huge cast. The little ones were cute and looked to the older ones for guidance. There was a bit of crackling and some problems with mics not being turned on and off as quickly as needed, but over all the sound was well done. There was a live orchestra (directed by Cheryl Price), which did not overpower the singers.

Mr. Willy Wonka was played by Timothy R. King. King brought to the role not so much a sinister and evil person, but more an air of mystery. He managed to make an appearance as each of the kids found their “golden ticket.” King’s solos came across as heartfelt and sincere. Anthony Ingargiola‘s Charlie Bucket was innocent, yet the desire to be like the other kids was evident. His scene with the Candy Man (Justin Price) and Mrs. Candyman (Courtney Swan) was delightful, and don’t miss the setup early in that scene (just before “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket”) for a surprising touch that helped define one of the characters.

There were some rather creative special effects throughout the performance. Some used creative staging techniques, such as Veruca (Amanda Mason) and Mr. Salt (Terry Mason) disappearing down the nut shoot; or Augustus Gloop (Wesley Diener) getting caught in the river of chocolate. One favorite was when Violet (Elizabeth Galanti) blew up like a blueberry. Mike Teevee’s (Luke Wilbur) television debut and the closing scene of Mr. Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe (Mike Cash) riding in the Wonkavator were a little disappointing, relying on videotaped effects in place of live action.

The entire cast really seemed to have a great time, as did the packed house. The costumes (Becky Hawylruk) were always bright and cheerful, although the Oompa Loompas’ outfits were a bit more subdued than expected. The set (Craig Dykstra) allowed for a great deal of flexibility with nearly ten locations portrayed, and included multiple levels, slides, hidden doorways and rotating walls.

Willy Wonka ran two and a half hours with one fifteen minute intermission. It is playing for one more weekend, at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Virginia. This is a kid friendly performance that will make you smile and crave some sweets.

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