Published on: Thursday, March 23, 2023

This year’s Year 6 production demonstrated that King’s Hall pupils always rise to a challenge. A lively cast of 36 children took on at least two roles each with some having as many as three costume changes.

One can only say ‘words, word, words’ because the cast did an amazing feat of learning so many lines, understanding them and knowing their cues. This comes as a result of dedication, rehearsal and a diligent knowledge of characterisation. To top that off, there was lots of dancing too and pupils obviously took on board all the choreography to make it look creative and fun.

The production started with extracts from three of Dahl’s popular stories. All were very well conveyed, from the witches with their bald heads and wigs ably led by Pippa R as the Grand High Witch, to the farmers with their disgusting habits, and the hilarious Twits, Rosie J and Harry G who were accompanied by clear spoken narrators.

After the interval the energetic, modern story of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory delighted audiences. All performers demonstrated their enthusiasm, combining their talents for dancing and acting to produce professional results.

For those with childhood memories of this enchanting story were transported into the modern world of Dahl. Gone were the orange faces and green hair, replaced by energetic dancing crazy haired Oompa Loompas who worked well as an ensemble group.

The play offered a variety of entertainment, incorporating elements of humour and thoughtfulness. The audience were transported on a magical adventure. The use of colour was essential and the set design threw the audience into the delights of the chocolate factory. Costumes were also vibrant and reflected the cast’s energy.

Crazy Willy Wonka played by Channah M, handled the huge number of lines extremely well and with excellent tone, projection and intonation. Charlie Bucket, played by Henry D, captured the innocence and love of this family, tugging at the heart strings when he successfully won the Chocolate factory at the end.

Golden ticket winner Veruca Salt was played expressively by Maddie H who acted as a most unpleasant spoilt child, while Charlotte Scott as the gum chewing Violet Beauregarde who delighted the audiences when she cleverly blew up as a blueberry. It was an ingenious costume and Charlotte’s facial expressions were so creative and hilarious.

Alexander E was Augustus Gloop and caused lots of laughter as he fell in the chocolate river and was magically squashed up the pipe. Mike TV played by Jinesh A, was cool talking and shocked the audience when he amazingly shrunk and appeared on the TV screen – Mr Eyers’ incredible technical skills allowed the audience to gasp and laugh at poor little Mike TV trapped with Rick Astley singing.

These children were ably supported by others playing their parents. It was funny to see Mrs Gloop hit Wonka with her handbag and watch the Salts fall into the garbage shute (where did they magically disappear?), and Mrs TV talk to a miniature Mike and pop him in her handbag.

Narrators in sparkly waistcoats and hats supported Wonka throughout and moved the play along by intertwining with the characters and remembering lots of lines. Well done to Pippa, Ottolie, Isla and Jessica who all spoke and expressed themselves so clearly.

The Bucket family also delighted the audience with their antics and the Oompa Loompas produced some amazing dances to powerful, fun songs. One of the children’s favourite was the Mike TV dance choreographed by Laura Walker that incorporated some freestyle moves. Florence T demonstrated her gymnastic ability as she backflipped across the stage and the strong supportive ensemble was essential at linking all the scenes together.

The production also allowed children in Year 7 and 8 to give invaluable contributions behind the scenes and co-ordinate complex scene changes, and ex-King’s Hall pupil Charlotte who attends King’s College operated the lights.

This was a production which demonstrates the belief at King’s Hall that high quality modern drama provides children with confidence, determination and a taste for treading the boards of the West End.

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