It's a story that would appeal to any fun-loving fifth grade actor: eccentric, mysterious candy factory owner/brilliant inventor admits a few children to his fantastic chocolate factory to find out what they're made of. Are they greedy and self-serving, or will their high moral fiber reassure him that the human race has not, after all, gone down the tubes (although one visitor does)?
This Roald Dahl book on which the play is based has been made into two high-budget films, yet the version played on the FAB stage was as beguiling as any cinematic experience. The costumes were clever, the sets a colorful feast. Multiple hilarious contraptions, including animatronic, golden-egg-laying geese, were handily deployed by the adept stage crew. Waif-like, earnest Charlie Bucket, played by Christopher Monde
, struck a sweet spot in the audience's heart. Holly Barrett
(Willy Wonka) had a lot of lines and songs and never missed a beat. Emma Yaniger
(Mrs. Bucket) is blessed with an unbelievable singing voice. The nine Ooompa Loompas (Caroline Barber, Josie Barton, Sara Brumbeloe, Courtney Hammond, Lauren Rousseau, Lindsey Sample, Emily Snellings, Annie Strickland,
and Lauren Toman
) struck just the right balance between humor and menace. And Charlie's grandparents (Joseph King, William Maier, Susanne Sokolowski,
and Isabella Vear
) spent much of the first act patiently tucked into a slanted bed.
In the words of Willy Wonka, "Thank you to all who are truly the makers of magic. So shines a good deed in a weary world."
Leave it to Director Will Kimzey
--perhaps weary today, but already launching into auditions for the Middle Spring School Play--to bring out the best in young actors at HIES. This fifth grade play is definitely another gumdrop in the cap of the theatre program at Holy Innocents'.
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