Review: Willy Wanka

29 March 2016

After the successful sketch show Mixtape last year, comedy troupe Seemingly Evil have tackled a narrative, parodying ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and outdoing themselves once again in Willy Wanka.

Seemingly Evil is made up of University of Melbourne students and alumni, many of whom started comedy in the Law Revue. It’s clear they’re good friends from their chemistry on stage to the laughs echoing from backstage before the show began.

Complementing each other nicely with an assortment of characters and costumes, the cast were fluidly switching roles and changing hats often whilst on stage with an impressive ease.

Will Reinehr, in the title role of Wanka, stood out with a huge stage presence and a penchant for dramatic pause. Evidently a talented actor, Reinehr’s Wanka drew from Wonka’s wonderful candy inventions with the likes of edible tampons, lemon-flavoured drain cleaner and the lick-able TV program ‘Netlicks’.

Intermixed with a dark Oompa Loompa backstory of slavery and abuse, sugar daddy encounters, half-baked songs and the rise of the vending machine, the show picked up on the original story’s strangest parts whilst showcasing their immense talent at creating new material.

Special mention to Andy Murray who managed to play his part with utter solemnity and seriousness at moments of great hilarity.

A weird and wonderful hour of laughs, tears and cardboard cutouts, the only offense of Willy Wanka is that we couldn’t get enough of it. Roald Dahl wrote a sequel, I hope Seemingly Evil do too.

Two members of the cast, Alice Tovey and Sam Garlepp, have their own independent shows at the Comedy Festival this year entitled Malice and No, I’m Someone Else, respectively. I’ll certainly be in attendance.

You can see Willy Wanka at Trades Hall every night until 3 April.

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