“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s” theme of imagination holds true in its production, as it takes the audience into a world normally only reachable on the big screen.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” at ASU Gammage through Sunday, June 16, is a multimedia experience where the performances of the cast are as remarkable as the special effects used on stage. Throughout the week, fans of the eccentric Willy Wonka can relieve the story they know and love.
The set of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” plays an important role as it was a significant piece of storytelling. With its beautifully designed structures, the set really made the audience feel as though they had stepped into different rooms as the story progresses.
The set also uses special effects and screens to create some of the magic depicted in previous film adaptations of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” From characters being torn apart, blown up or shrunk to the size of action figures, the special effects make these scenes come to life on set.
The man of the hour, Willy Wonka, is portrayed by Noah Weisberg and delivers a performance that is dramatic and hysterical. A man who has shut himself away from society for years, Willy Wonka decides to dress as a regular candy shop clerk and see what the world has to offer. It is there where he meets Charlie Bucket, portrayed by Collin Jeffery.
Weisberg’s Willy Wonka shows true depth in its depiction. The man goes from regular clerk to eccentric millionaire at the drop of a hat (pun intended). One thing that remains in both characters however, is a boyish charm full of imagination and sarcasm.
Opposite to Weisberg, Jeffery delivers Charlie Bucket as it was intended: A young boy who lives in the clouds, attempting to get away from the harsh realities of his lower-income family. The young actor’s voice resonates with the audience and his performance is endearing.
Grandpa Joe, portrayed by James Young, also has a boyish charm. Although very old, the man spends his days telling stories of his glory days to the young Charlie and accompanies him on his adventure in the chocolate factory. Grandpa Joe is the one person who truly supports Charlie’s wild and vivid imagination.
Of course, news of the five golden tickets go around the world and the five ticket-holders soon enter the factory, a house of tricks and terror for those who do not follow the rules.
The cast’s performance is hilarious across the board, but Brynn Williams’ depiction of Violet Beauregarde, the gum-loving “queen of pop” truly stands out. Williams’ brings an energy that is as grand as Willy Wonka’s and steals the show along with co-star David Samuel, who plays Mr. Beauregarde. But this story would not be complete without the iconic Oompa Loompas.
The Oompa Loompas are portrayed by various cast members and, again with the help of effects, the play brings the short race of genius workers into a remarkable ensemble.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory truly brings the magic to life with the help of its cast and special effects. There was never a dull moment in the story, and people can expect to relieve the story that they fell in love with during childhood.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, ASU Gammage, 1200 S. Forest Avenue, Tempe, 480.965.3434, asugammage.com, times and ticket prices vary, through Sunday, June 16.