Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical – Review
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Musical opened last week for a huge four week residence at Milton Keynes Theatre…there’s been a lot of excitement surrounding this opening since it was announced last year. With the Roald Dahl book being one of the all-time children’s favourites and both the original Gene Wilder film and newer Johnny Depp version being so popular, you can understand the anticipation, but did it live up to the hype…
Firstly we should say, there will be no spoilers here…we want you to be as mesmerised as we were. The musical sticks pretty close to the book and movies, we learn about poor Charlie Bucket (played brilliantly by Noah Walton on the night we saw it) and his family’s circumstances, four grandparents living in just one bed in a ramshackle house with leaks in the ceiling. But the young boy has big dreams and as the first act unfolds, we see how Charlie and four other, not so pleasant children, get their chance to enter the mysterious factory owned by Willy Wonka.
The songs and sets are quirky, but everyone is waiting for just one thing, Mr Wonka’s arrival. This iconic character is played by Gareth Snook and from the moment he enters the stage, he captivates the audience.
The musical leaps into life after the interval, you’re truly transported into a ‘world of pure imagination’ as the different factory rooms are brought to life with a mix of dramatic on stage props and mesmerising video animations. Our favourite was the shrinking of the infamously awful Mike Teavee, but we’re not going to tell you any on-stage secrets.
Willy Wonka is charismatic, but also a teeny tiny bit scary in places, as are the Oompa Loompas who take on a slight Cyberman vibe for this production. We can understand the 7+ age advisory but there was a younger girl in front of us and she was as captivated as we were.
Ultimately, if you love the book or either of the films, this musical version will be right up your street, it really does need to be seen, to be believed…you won’t be disappointed.
Grab your ‘golden ticket’ now before it leaves Milton Keynes on 5th March.