I love Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory so when I saw the opportunity to review it in Purcellville at Main Street Theater Productions, I thought, “I’ve got a golden ticket! Whereas, both the movies I’ve seen are geared more towards adults, this sweet production was all for the children and it was thoroughly scrumpdidleeumptious.
Willy Wonka (Tom Sweitzer), who also doubled as the Candy Man, did a fine job tantalizing the children with song and candy, as tiny pleas for his sweets were heard rippling through the audience every time he exited the stage. He captured a child’s wonder with the wave of his cane. Phineous Trout (Robert Burroughs), who also doubled as Slugworth, was fabulous. Jumping out of costumes – literally – and into his next character was fun to watch. He brought a little magic of his own to the show. Of course there was Mrs. Bucket (Laura Stroup), poor Charlie’s Mom and her neverending pile to iron.
Grandma Georgina (Ann Cirillo), Grandpa George (Mark Wichern), Grandma Josephine (Elizabeth Baumgarten and Grandpa Joe (Ric Humphreys) were all a hoot, snug as bugs in their one bed. Out of bed, Grandpa Joe and Charlie Bucket (Jonathan Jacobson) formed a dynamic duo that complimented each others talent. My favorite show in the scene was of their fizzy lifting drink escapade – much credit to the show’s director, Karlah Hamilton Louis who also did an outstanding job on costumes. My other favorite pair was Violet Beauregarde (Zoe Lucas) and Mrs. Beauregarde (Beth Jacobsohn). I loved Zoe’s voice! But wait. I loved Augustus Gloop (Jonathon Wilkerson) and Mrs. Gloop (Sue Derrow) too! And Veruca Salt (Joanna Wichern) and Mr. Salt (Ric Stroup) too. And Mike Teavee (Ian Carlson) and Ms. Teavee (Suzi Dahl too! It was a wonderful cast and everyone was a joy to watch. But my absolute favorite of all were the Oompa Loompas, played by Megan Beach, Caroline Bolen, Blake Carlson, Nick Cooper, Teryn Cuozzo, Josh Derrow, Rachael Fitzgerald, Sebastian Jung, Avery Knapp, Sarah Louis, Benjamin Peake, Abigail Stewart, and Noah Zimmerman.
And kudos to The Teen Chorus: Charlotte Ager, Lauren Bogle, John Burroughs, Ellie Cirillo, Abby Dahl, Maddy Gingerich, Miranda Huffer, Megan Jenkins, Holly Jung, Carolina Kirkpatrick, Caroline Pennington, Lexie Pound, Hannah Ratcliffe, Sophie Stapleton, Taylor Stowe, and Aubrey Winger.
Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka at Main Street Theater Productions is a well crafted, silly, sweet and fun time for the whole family. If you don’t live in Purcellville, VA-it’s worth the drive. I was smiling throughout the whole show. And although the show itself was enough to make me smile, the children’s laughter, bubbling with excitement and joy were as contagious as chickenpox!
Running Time: Two hours, including one fifteen-minute intermission.
Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka performs through May 4, 2014 at Main Street Theater Productions performing at Franklin Park Arts Center-36441 Blueridge View Lane, in Purcellville, VA. For tickets, call (540) 571-9588, or email KarlahLouis@aol.com.