–by Jen Cunningham
The musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, based on the novel by Roald Dahl, is a dark chocolate treat, fun for the whole family. Roald Dahl’s novels have been adapted into two movies and a musical. The musical adaptation differs from the movie and may leave you with more questions than answers, but that’s what art is supposed to do. Right?
The musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory takes you on a journey with the protagonist Charlie Bucket. Charlie is a sweet, responsible child with a great affinity for Willy Wonka Chocolate Bars. Charlie (played by William Goldsman) garners an unusual friendship with the guised Wonka (played by Cody Garcia). Wonka and Bucket have daily chats at the Candy Store, as they get to know each other. Charlie, taking a break from a heavy life with a widowed mother, and a house full of aging grandparents, and Wonka secretly searching for the perfect imagination to take over. Charlie loves talking to his new friend about all of the wonders of the Chocolate Factory. Wonka appears to see promise in Charlie Bucket, and as luck would have it, Charlie Bucket manages to secure the final Golden Ticket to tour the Chocolate Factory.
In between the exciting, colorful numbers, rests a beautiful ballet. Charlie’s parents (played by Claire Leyden and Daniel Pahl) dance in memory of Charlie’s father to “If Your Father Were Here.” One of the many questions left in this show; what happened to Charlie’s father? The ballet feels a bit like a dream, and as soon as the characters wake the adventure resumes. Inspired by romanticized ideas from the tall tales told by Grandpa Joe (played by Steve McCoy), Charlie and Joe set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Much needed respite from the life of poverty that could have crushed their optimism, but didn’t.
The other tickets were secured by Augustus Gloop (played by Nic Mains), Veruca Salt (played by Angela Palladini. Weren’t they a band in the 90s?), Violet Beauregard (played by Zakiya Baptiste), and Mike Teavee (played by Jacnier). The other children all seem to have some…issues. These issues may prove problematic in the future. No spoilers here, but I will add that Augustus Gloop’s character is hilarious, and I can’t help but feel somewhat kindred to Mrs. Teavee. We can’t forget the real stars of the show, the Oompa Loompas! The Oompa Loompas are brought to life by some amazing puppetry. The music and whimsy makes for a fun, family night at the theater.
This is a great show for a range of ages. Hopefully, next time around it plays here for more than a few nights.