PLAY REVIEW: ‘Someday Charlie’s lucky day will come along’

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 12:58 pm on Thursday, March 08, 2012

Willy Wonka (Chris Swanson) and guests tour the chocolate factory, including the chocolate smelting room where a chocolate river runs past. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

The eccentric Willy Wonka places five golden tickets in the wrappings of his chocolate bars. Those who find them will begin a great magical adventure.

Central Montcalm Public School presents the well-known musical “Willy Wonka” opening tonight and playing Friday and Saturday at the Central Montcalm Middle School Cafeteria. Curtain time is 7:30 with tickets available at the door for $5. The two-hour production is a family-friendly event.

“I had wanted to do this for some time, and this year I had the right group of kids to fit the characters,” said Director Candace Huntley, “It is a good group of kids who really stepped up to do makeup, costumes and help in any way they could.”

The cast consists of 39 students from fifth grade to 12 grade, many of whom are on stage for the first time, Huntley said.

The production, adapted from Roald Dahl’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” begins with a solo “Pure Imagination” by Chris Swanson, who strongly pulls off the starring role of Willy Wonka.

Wonka has everything in his candy factory that one could imagine — everything, that is, but someone to continue his candy confectioning so he can retire. Wonka opts to have a contest where the winners of the golden tickets earn a tour of his factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

Charlie Bucket, played gallantly by Brendan Doolittle despite a recently broken arm, is from a poor family and hopes to be one of the winners. Doolittle performs several solos and duets and carries them out confidently.

The Bucket family — Grandpa Joe (Bruce Reames), Grandma Josephine (Morgan Smith) Grandpa George (Rylan Myers) and Grandma Georgiana (Kayla Holford), Mrs. Bucket (Alicia Tatum) and Mr. Bucket (Tyler Skeet) — add a comical touch with their humorous dialogue.

Scene changes are completed quickly and an elaborate touch is given to costumes and props. The chocolate river, the pink candy boat with lights and fog and the giant fan are all elaborate details that enhance the production.

The winners of the first ticket, Mr. and Mrs. Gloop, are portrayed creatively by Aaron Willmore and Victoria Peterson. Their roles also are comedic.

Veruca Salt, described by Wonka as ” bossy, self-centered and uneducated,” is the second winner. Mackenna Myers plays the spoiled child enthusiastically while her rich father, Mr. Salt, is portrayed confidently by Blake Wittkopp.

Kaitlyn Klingensmith plays the gum-chewer Violet Beaurgarde with assurance while Ryan Michalek realistically portrays Mike Teavee. The two are the third and fourth winners, leaving only one more golden ticket.

“Someday Charlie’s lucky day will come along,” says Grandpa Joe, trying to retain the positive, upbeat attitude that Charlie usually carries.

The Oompa Loompas are multi-talented , teaching morals about appropriate behaviors, yet also singing and supporting the lead roles.

“Willy Wonka” is an entertaining, delightful musical well worth its $5 admission.

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