Hunting Hills gearing up to stage Willy Wonka

Drama students at Hunting Hills High School are busy prepping for their spring production of Willy Wonka.

The colourful show runs March 17-20 at the Memorial Centre. Curtain is 7 p.m. and there is a 1 p.m. matinee on March 20.

Dinner theatres also run March 18-19 at 5:30 p.m. in Festival Hall. Adults pay $15 and children/seniors/students pay $10.

Directed by Bill Jacobsen, the double-casted play merges the flourishing talents of 46 students in acting roles as well as seven in the running crew.

Willy Wonka is a character in the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the film adaptations that followed.

A musical film adaptation titled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was released in 1971. Another film version, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory directed by Tim Burton was released in 2005.

Jacobsen explains that the play was written using a lots of material from the first film, complete with some very well-known tunes that have so strongly struck a chord with audiences.

Considering its suitability on a number of levels, including the range of compelling production values and the show’s delightful ‘singability’, it proved an ideal project for the troupe at Hunting Hills.

Jacobsen also points out how the Tim Burton-directed film in particular stirred up a renewed interest in the story over the past few years, so of course that also serves the production well.

“It’s also got a really positive message about learning not to be self-centred.”

As to Dahl’s skills as a writer, Jacobsen compares the prolific writer’s style to that of fellow British author C.S. Lewis who penned the acclaimed Chronicles of Narnia.

“He had such a distinct voice in telling the story. Like Lewis, there is great detail in what the narrator sees. There is this real strength in painting a picture and it stays with you for a long time.”

Some of Dahl’s other better-known works include James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The Witches and The Big Friendly Giant.

For tickets or more information, call the school office at 403-342-6655.