The greatest charm of the Stepping Stone Players' most recent production, "Willy Wonka," lies in its outstanding mixed cast of children and adults. Eleven-year-old Austin Kelly as our hero — sweet, decent, chocolate-loving Charlie Bucket, is a triple threat — able to act, sing and fly 20 feet into the air, all at the same time.
Allan Hunt, so memorable as the Wizard in last year's Stepping Stone production of "The Wizard of Oz," holds his own as Charlie's Grandpa Joe, competing with five small scene-stealers — if you don't count the three dozen or so children who either sing and dance as Towns Kids, or as Oompa Loompas.
All performances are delightfully reminiscent of the ones in the 1971 classic movie version, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. In both the movie and the play, Charlie's dreams come true when he wins a tour of Willy Wonka's mysterious candy factory after finding a Golden Ticket in his Wonka Bar. So do four obnoxious little brats, played to perfection by four young actors with lists of professional credits longer than their arms.