Friday, 16 October 2015 07:12

Theatre Review Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, The Musical.

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Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald.
Directed by Erik Austin
Music Direction by Lainie Pahos

What an absolute treat!

Willy Wonka, holds a precious place in my heart, and the hearts of many. So to have the pleasure of reviewing one of my favorite stories, produced in the heart of NoHo at The El Portal Theatre, was a wonderful and much appreciated opportunity.


And Kelrik Productions did not disappoint. With a cast full to the brim with talented child actors and wonderful adults to guide and support them, this play is an evening full of fun, thrilling performances, and songs you can barely resist singing along to.

It’s a brave undertaking really, to take on this iconic story full of images and characters so burned into our collective minds. But the fabulous energy with which the director Erik Austin approaches the story is exactly what is needed to bring it to life.

Song after song resonates through the theatre, and we are breathless and smiling trying to keep up! The dancers are wonderful and each and every character fully realized by every actor big or small. The set is a mixture of working components and lovingly painted scenery which gives the whole set a childlike, dream-like quality, every scene change becoming a dance of sorts while the actors reconstruct the world they inhabit before our very eyes.


I absolutely loved this show! I was thrilled to see many children in the audience, and they all seemed to have a great time!

This is a really excellent opportunity, and one that is unfortunately a bit of a rarity, to bring your kids to the theatre and have them wide eyed with wonder as they watch kids their own age sing and dance their way through a classic childhood tale of patience, hope and love.

Everyone was brilliant! Willy Wonka himself, a sweet and carefree version of the well-loved character was touchingly rendered by the very talented Matt DeNoto. The sometime narrator of the piece, The Candy Man, was also wonderful, well done Craig Sherman. But it is the kids themselves that are the standouts of course, every one of them full of energy and life and beautifully well rounded. Some fantastic casting to be sure!

If you enjoy classic stories and family fun then please bring every kid you can lay your hands on to see this lovely show! I thoroughly recommend it!

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, The Musical is playing at The El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601
The show opens Friday October 9th @ 7pm, Saturday & Sunday performances are 2pm and 7pm through to November 8th.


Willy Wonka/Phineous Trout - Matt DeNoto
The Candy Man - Craig Sherman
Charlie Bucket - Blythe Walker & Katie Peel
Mrs Bucket - Denise Bundlie
Grandpa Joe - Martin Feldman
Grandma Georgina/Mrs Gloop - Tiffany Commons
Grandma Josephina/Mrs TeeVee - Grace Birkita MacMillan
Augustus Gloop - Daniel Schwadron
Veronica Salt - Marley Estrada & Journi McGee
Violet Beauregards - Alex Tonkins & Asia Aragon
Mike TeeVee - Aidan Smith
Candy Kids/Oompah Loompa - Bradely Bundlie, Viktoria Leskiv, Una Panich. Makenzie Tonkins, Taryn Walker

Production Staff
Director - Erik Austin
Musical Director- Lainie Pahos
Choreographer/stage manager/ lighting - Samantha Marie
Assistant Stage Manager - Morgan Clemenson
Costume Design - Keith Wetzel of Costume Capers
Wig Styling - Debi Hernandez
Set Design - Bruce hunter
Scenic Painting - Buffy Doran & Erik Austin

Read 8893 times Last modified on Friday, 16 October 2015 09:10
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Writer, Filmmaker, Musician. Samantha has Produced over 60 short films and Written and Directed 20. She is the co-creator of 52 Films/52 Weeks and The Cinema Tribe Collective. She has written over 400 LA Theatre reviews and is partners in Xpress Records a Music Publishing Company in the UK.  This year she will be directing her first feature film which she also wrote, developing several others and is writing a children’s book. 

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1 comment

  • Comment Link Peter Schneider Tuesday, 09 April 2019 19:05 posted by Peter Schneider

    What a piece of shit.. No mystery.. No Magic.. No message.. BOOOOOOOOO.. Walked out in the second act.. Looked like cast was reading from a script.. How dare you take magic and turn it into trash.. Boooooooo


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