Charlie and The Chocolate Factory - Review


Written by Liam Wachs
17 Wednesday 17th September 2014

The Mel Stuart film had a brilliant and memorable soundtrack so at first I was a little disappointed to find that almost all the original songs had been left out. That being said, I respect the rather daring decision to compose a new score and for most of the musical I think it worked very well. It was upbeat and full of energy with none of the songs being dragged out for too long. The closing scene was also total delight with a moving rendition of ‘Imagination’ sung by Willy and Charlie in an amazing glass elevator floating above the crowd.

The sets were amazing and extremely dynamic. Usually in a west end musical you will find 2-3 set changes in each act but this one had at least 6-8 and even the scene changes themselves were dramatic with great use of projection mapping to create wonderful illusions on the curtains.

I was excited to see how they were going to deal with the issue of the oompaloompas height and I was not let down in the slightest. You can see why Mark Thompson won the Oliver award for best costume design in 2014. Every song found new opportunities for the oompaloompas to wow the audience with new costumes. From riding giant squirrels to wearing LED lit space rave suits. I simply couldn’t stop grinning or take my eyes off them for a single second.

One of the best aspects of the show is the stage magic, which is totally spellbinding. From the first scene where Charlie flies a paper airplane up to the rafters you know that you are in store for some thrilling moments. Sam Mendes’ Hollywood background really shines through here with some truly inspired ideas coming to life. A personal highlight has to be the teleportation of first a Wonka chocolate bar and finally Mike TV to the inside of a TV screen on set.

Overall I think the adaptation was big success and I would recommend it to people of any age. The scenes run at a brilliant pace and truly keep you on the edge of your seat with a grin on your face and sometimes a little tear in your eye. I started with a bit of hesitation on the mind and left covered in confetti with childlike joy running through my heart.

Venue: Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Book tickets at:

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