Since it opened in spring 2013, Sam Mendes' technicolour musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has broken box office records, bagged two Olivier awards and reminded countless captivated children of the perils of greed (poor Augustus Gloop), too much T.V (we're looking at you, Mike Teevee) and just generally being obnoxious brats (Veruca and Violet).
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical: songs, silliness and spectacular staging
Roald Dahl's beloved story of impoverished Charlie Bucket's induction into the 'world of pure imagination' that is Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is already full of theatrical flourish. And on stage the fairytale rags-to-riches joy of winning a golden ticket is served up with a gleeful dose of Dahl's dark, droll humour and plenty of surreal sparks.
With the addition of jubilant songs and staging so ingenious it will have audiences members young and old mesmerised, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical is a thrilling spectacle.
A disarmingly talented young Charlie Bucket opens the show with a song. Dwarfed by mountains of rubbish, he is a picture of smiling politeness as he greets a mysterious vagrant figure. The first half focusses on the cabbage-soup eating poverty of the Bucket family in a touching portrait of family love.
We gasped with delight as Charlie turns his written wish into a paper aeroplane that soars across the theatre and chuckled at the caricatured tableaux of each ghastly golden ticket winner. By the interval, audience members young and old are rooting for Charlie and hungry to see the delights within Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
A magnetic Mr Wonka: Jonathan Slinger shines
For all the jaw-droping feats of staging that bring the factory to life, it is Willy Wonka himself that captivates most. Seasoned Shakespearean actor Jonathan Slinger brings the depth and ambivalence of some of the bard's finest characters to his portrayal of the madcap confectioner. Switching between petulance and exuberance, he reigns supreme in a world where every wonder has its risk. The Oompa Loompas are a delight too, with an inventive combination of puppetry and costume creating an army of tiny helpers.
Fun family musical
Thanks to the mesmerising brightness and detail of the staging, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical will engage even very little children. Though the lashings of cheeky humour and underlying sense of the macabre mean the show will be enjoyed as much by older kids and teenagers. And, unlike other more saccharin family shows, this sweet musical has enough bite to amuse even the most cynical of grown-ups.
Suitable for ages 7+
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
|Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Catherine Street, London , WC2B 5JF | MAP
|Covent Garden (underground)
03 Apr 13 – 31 Jan 17, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|£17.50 - £70
|Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets