IROQUOIS – “Who can take a rainbow/Wrap it in a sigh…the Candy Man can!”
Willy Wonka, the musical, is based on a hugely popular character, the unique and delightful Candy Man, Willy Wonka himself, created by British writer, Roald Dahl.
In the upcoming Brockville Operatic Society’s production of Willy Wonka, running at the Brockville Arts Centre February 15-17, noted local musician Margaret Whisselle will bring one of the show’s memorable characters, the “infamous” Mrs. Gloop, to comic life.
Mrs. Gloop is another of Dahl’s bizarre, but very comic creations.
“My Mrs. Gloop is Bavarian,” Margaret explains, “with an embarrassingly bad German accent.”
In the musical, young Charlie Bucket and his grandfather win the chance to take a wondrous, magical journey with the famous candy maker, Willy Wonka. Several other children, from around the world and their parents have also been invited to the Wonka factory. What none of them know is that Wonka is searching for the perfect child to take over his mysterious, exotic and amazing candy world.
One of those children is Master Augustus Gloop, son of the character that Margaret is playing.
“Augustus is a fat, greedy little boy,” Margaret laughed, “and proud of it. His mother, Mrs. Gloop, who is loud and excitable, believes that weight gain is marvellous. ‘If this was the Olympics, my Augustus would have ze gold medals’!”
Margaret is having a great deal of fun with this role.
“I love creating characters, especially characters like Mrs. Gloop, who is not really lovable, maybe even a bit pitiful. She is definitely overbearing, subjecting her son Augustus to endearments like ‘smudgy pudgy’ and ‘sausage vausage’,” Margaret said. “But I enjoy finding the humour in Mrs. Gloop and expressing it.”
Margaret is an accomplished vocalist, music teacher, organist at two local churches, and a pianist and accompanist, who performs with the Seaway Valley Singers. She has sung with opera singers Christopher Coyea and Alex Fleuriau Chateau, playing Bloody Mary in their recent production of South Pacific at the Brockville Arts Centre.
Last April Margaret also appeared in the sold out dinner theatre show, Dinner At Eight, Dead By Nine at Matilda Hall.
“I love musical theatre,” she said. “It combines singing and acting. I feel like it transports me out of myself and into other worlds. Wonderful worlds.”
Margaret is thoroughly enjoying this production of Willy Wonka, directed by Stephanie Jutton Vanderbaaren, with musical direction by Marguerite Thorne. She is impressed with both the performers and the technical aspects of the show.
“Willy is played by Philip Peterson, an amazing tenor and actor, a graduate of the St. Lawrence Musical Theatre Performance program.” (Margaret actually was one of Philip’s teachers.)
Phineas Trout, the reporter who accompanies the children on their Wonka journey is played by the talented Drew Morley. Charlie and the rest of the children are all doubled in the show as it is a demanding musical. Nearly 40 actors appear in the production, including the Oompa Loompas.
“There are some fantastic technical aspects to this production,” Margaret said. “These include a green screen where magical images can be projected, other computer generated images, spectacular sound effects and a wonderful live band.”
She feels that audiences are going to be dazzled and really entertained by Willy Wonka.
An invitation is best expressed in one of the wonderful songs from the musical
“Come with me and you’ll be/In a world of pure imagination…”