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Evaluation: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit’ is an uncommon pleasure | theater evaluations

“Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit,” a musical based mostly on a Roald Dahl novel and offered on the Fox Theater, is so intriguingly weird that it may be price looking forward to its sheer audacity alone. Stylishly directed by Matt Lenz, it is fairly entertaining as soon as it hits its stride.

Charlie Bucket (William Goldsman), a British boy with a candy tooth for chocolate bars, goals of getting a “golden ticket” for a tour of the manufacturing unit the place they’re made, and might’t imagine his luck when it occurs. However Charlie has no concept what he is getting himself into, as a robust argument will be made that the tour information is just not solely loopy, however doubtlessly harmful.

That will be sweet maker Willy Wonka (Cody Garcia). Wonka, who was performed by Gene Wilder in a 1971 movie and by Johnny Depp in director Tim Burton’s 2005 adaptation, is blessed with a captivating chatter line, however appears blissfully unconcerned concerning the security of the youngsters in his midst.

Maybe, inevitably, issues occur, issues which are each disturbing and darkly hilarious.

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With a e-book by David Greig, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, “Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit” performs as “Oliver!” with out the sentimentality. Actually, the present’s embrace of the macabre is all of the extra spectacular as a result of it borders on dangerous style. However it is vitally a lot in step with Dahl’s creative sensibility, which is extra faithfully represented than in “Matilda,” one other musical impressed by one in every of her books.

Apparently, nothing main occurs within the first act, which focuses on Charlie, his mom (Claire Leyden), and Grandpa Joe (Steve McCoy) and units the stage for the considerably extra hectic second act.

That is when Wonka emerges because the dominant character, and Garcia takes on the function in showbiz fashion. His interpretation of his character is nearer to Wilder’s than Depp’s, however he places his personal stamp on it. And on opening evening, Goldsman (who alternates with Kai Edgar and Coleman Simmons as Charlie) matched Garcia in sheer exuberance.

No matter its flaws, “Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit” deserves credit score for being a musical within the classical custom. The characters are partaking, the story is imaginative, and the songs are catchy, bucking the pattern towards musicals that provide cutting-edge spectacle however little else. Reveals based mostly on motion pictures, just like the touring productions of “Fairly Girl” and “Imply Women” which have paused at Fox in latest months, are usually significantly forgettable.

However you may’t go fallacious with songs like “The Sweet Man” and “Pure Creativeness.” Ought to it matter that they weren’t written by Shaiman and Wittman however by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley? And never due to this present however due to Wilder’s film a long time in the past? Not after they match so completely.

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