AYT’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is big, bold, colourful and altogether splendid. Director Ray Cullen’s large brush strokes are ably supported by a talented production team. Musical Direction by Serena Cann and Ben Francis is superb. The altogether fullsome sound of the orchestra, conducted by Ben, well matches both the large cast and even larger auditorium. Choreography by Jayden Prelc assisted by Tayla McDougall is exceptionally effective and even throughout. A not so easy task with such a formidable cast of young people. The Oompa Loompa routines, particularly with the mini Oompas are simple and excellent. Kylie Mazey and Lithy Gallagher together with their team of costumers produce a colourful array of garments befitting the fanciful theme.
Imaginative lighting of the backdrop together with some well placed and quirky special effects is a highlight of the show. Indeed I was impressed by all matters technical. The timing of both lighting and sound cues is seamless throughout. My congratulations to all involved within the technical spectrum!
I saw the “Candy” cast perform so all my comments pertain to the participants thereof. I was, along with an appreciative audience, well entertained by an ensemble of young performers all of whom seemed well placed within the performance jigsaw. However some are worthy of an individual mention. Nathan Stafford as Willy Wonka gives a polished performance. His voice, articulation and movement bring voracity and vibrancy to the character. Nathan simply makes the stage his own. Ryan Tillman is a confident and appealing Charlie Bucket. He admirably hits all the right notes and is quite able to “hold the stage” when needed. His work with both Grandpa Joe (a clear of voice, positive and likeable Matt Monti) as well as mother Bucket (a competent and interesting Charlotte Lawrence) is commendable. Of the other well drawn cameos the Russian oligarch Salt (Deon Martino Williams) is well voiced and accented. His daughter Varuca (Kiara Linke) makes all the right moves to emphasize her spoiled bratness. And she moves very well indeed. Melanie Cowmeadow (Mrs. Teavee) as a mum right out of the 1950’s looks good and sells her character convincingly.
All in all the audience must have the last say. They loved what they came to see. The music, the fun, the ambience, the theatre. Sweet !!!