- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2007

By Anna Gosling, age 10

Sunrise Valley Elementary School, Reston

Have you ever read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl or seen the movies based on it? If you like them, you might want to see the musical “Willy Wonka,” which I saw at the Kennedy Center. It is about a poor boy named Charlie Bucket who dreams of entering Wonka’s famous chocolate factory.

For many years, no one has gone in or come out of the factory, and Charlie’s grandfather tells him that the workers must be zombies. One day, Charlie, along with four other kids, gets his chance to tour the factory by finding a lucky golden ticket in one of Wonka’s candy bars. It turns out that the workers in the factory are not zombies, and the other kids are not as sweet as Mr. Wonka’s candy.

“Willy Wonka” has many great characters. One of my favorites is the Candy Man, who is nice to the kids. Because Charlie’s family is so poor, he gives Charlie a day-old newspaper. It’s in that newspaper that Charlie finds out about the lucky golden tickets. He also sells Charlie the chocolate bar with the golden ticket inside.

The other great characters are the kids, all played by adults. The kids are the same as those in the book. Augustus Gloop eats too much, Veruca Salt is spoiled rotten by her parents, Violet Beauregarde chews gum nonstop, and Mike Teavee is obsessed with watching television.

My favorite is Mike Teavee. He is funny because he dances like crazy all around the stage. He even does “the worm” on the floor.

My favorite scene is when Veruca is on the radio and kicks the announcer because he pronounces her name wrong. It shows that she’s bratty, in an entertaining way. When I asked my sister Ellie, who is 7, which scene she liked the best, she said she liked the part when Charlie finds a coin buried in the snow and uses it to buy the candy bar with the golden ticket.

The scenery in “Willy Wonka” is simple ,and so are the special effects — they make you use your imagination. One of my favorite special effects is the five gigantic golden tickets that hang from the top of the stage and light up as each child finds a lucky ticket. When the children, one by one, get into trouble and must leave the factory, their names disappear. Another interesting special effect is the way puppets are used in the show. For example, as each child leaves the factory, the actors come back to sing as Oompa Loompa puppets.

Great actors, awesome effects and imagination make this play distinct. When you bring them all together, you get a great play. “Willy Wonka” gets an A+ in all categories that I can think of. “Wonka” is an out-of-this-world type of musical. I loved it.

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